For someone – Shaking off Labels
Matthew 13:54-57: (Life of Jesus) “Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?’ they asked. ‘Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?’ And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.’”
Who does he think he is?! This is what people from his own hometown thought of Jesus. Who does little Jesus, the carpenter’s son, think he is? Where did these miraculous powers come from? Where did this wisdom originate? Who does he think he is to teach us and say these things?
Surely a carpenter’s boy isn’t teaching us.
They took offense to him as if he did not know what he was doing or who he really was. As if his identity, role, and destiny was what made sense to them. The carpenter’s boy from a few houses down, and nothing more spectacular than that!
To live by their labels 🏷 is what they expected of Him.
They thought what he was doing defied who they thought he was.
But God! God said Jesus is his son and that is exactly who Jesus is. God created Jesus by his own power and sent him to Earth for his own purposes. He led him by his own presence.
And they can’t change that, even if they can’t recognize it. Moreover, if they can’t recognize it, they just can’t benefit from it. Jesus lost honor, but they lost an opportunity.
So similarly, in our own lives, regardless of what people around us may say, despite what labels people may expect us to live by, be confident of your identity in Christ. Throwing off the chains of old labels and purposes. Walk tall. God is the one who appoints and anoints. Your identity is crafted by the Creator. The talk and thoughts of people around you about where you came from don’t change where you’re going or what you’re destined for. Or especially, the powerful God who lives down on the inside of you.
If Lord Jesus himself dealt with it, you can expect you might as well.
The son of God is the son of God, period.
As a result of salvation, you are a child of God as well, period. Your works and words that God calls and guides you to spread are of kingdom impact. Some people can’t recognize where the so called miraculous powers and wisdom comes from because they don’t recognize God.
So like Jesus experienced, we may sometimes expect the same kind of scoffing and questioning in our own lives. That whole who do you think you are kind of reaction is exactly what to expect when you’re a brand new creature in Christ – when you are acting brand new with your mouth and deeds! When you’re walking in his purpose and will, your way of life and being may look a little different than it did ever before! (Maybe you’re not woodworking anymore.)
But don’t stop doing what you’re doing just because it defies what the old crowd was expecting!
Sometimes God’s directions, instructions, goals, and purposes are different than what may make sense to other people at a first glance. Sometimes he uses the lame to speak and lead, a mercenary to carry the message of Life, a mere sheep herder to lead a kingdom! And people don’t get it. But what about you? Expect the unlikely. Anticipate the impossible. God is God!
People who don’t know the Lord don’t know who you are, they see only at a surface value – and call and paint you as what makes sense to them. Like “just” the carpenter’s boy from a few houses down. More like just the Son of God. Dummies.
Avoid people of a “just” mentality anyways. Who compare the present to the past like it’s an ultimatum. People who remind you of what you were, what you did, and where you come from. And people who don’t recognize where miraculous powers come from. God is power. And if people don’t get God, they don’t get you! (Especially if you’re walking in the works & obedience of the lord)
But don’t stop loving. Just keeping walking and keep doing. Shock the world by the change that the living God inside of you ignites!
My simple reflection is that if I were to die tonight, I ponder what my last words would be. I ponder what my lasting trace would be on the people I knew. If anyone was to take any sort of knowledge from my life, I would hope that it is that I found my true life, purpose, and hope in God. God created everything in splendorous, artistic, creative, balanced, and beautiful fullness. God is full of all existence. He billows with power and glory. I am thankful for the meaning and light he instilled in my once empty, void, confused, and suicidal being. I remain nothing, but I now remain with my small soul and laughable inadequacy in the supernatural master of all. He is great. I am meek. He does extraordinary things, he manifests miracles before me, and this is something that I fear… because the most sacred, divine being in all of existence… loves me. He wears scars to prove his love. For this, I work out my salvation with fear and trembling. His love, how good He is, baffles me. He is the nourisher of my soul.
Though this is simple thought, this is essential thought. Our existence is impossibly possible through the existence of God. We are blessed by the breath of life. We are blessed by the knowledge of the hand that formed us. We are blessed by the ability to turn our heart to our Home. The greatest blessing of all time is God Himself, and we must ceaselessly thank Him that He allows us to be interwoven into his great fabric of life.
Let Him not be forgotten.
I supplicate in prayer that anyone who reads this is empowered by perceiving just how deep the love of Christ is that surpasses all knowledge… and I pray that you be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3).
The Glory of Christ- Easter Day 2008.
Oil on canvas
30 x 24in/76 x 61cm
Do we forget the compassion of God?
There is annoyance burning in my bones. It has come to my attention how quick our Christian community is to focus and emphasize on what God can do for them next. I do agree that God can move mountains for us. I do believe that God loves our thankful, faithful prayers filled with concerns, requests, and eager communication regarding our lives. God can do more than we know, and rest assured that this confidence flows through my being.
Yet in this moment, I am unnerved. I feel worried for the community of believers. I feel that the most commonly shared concept is that God can do more for ME! God can make MY dreams come true! God has generous plans for ME! God will give more and more to ME! Again, allow me to say I believe that God can do many things for us and that his plans are incredibly good.
However, what bothers me now is how hastily people are to think of God satisfying their own wants and needs. Many people love reading materials and teaching services that gravitate around the concept of God doing, giving, and granting more for an individual. God is completely powerful enough to do it, but should the front line of our heart be the desire for our own gratification?
Do we forget God’s compassion on our own people? Do we forget God’s love, consideration, and sacrifice for our own people? Do we forgot that God loved us enough to do anything for us, including die in torture and mockery? God did not sit around eating choice foods and sleeping in a comfortable bed at night. Do we forgot how much God has done for us even in our own lives? God has given more and more and more! Does it not unnerve you that your greedy heart screams for more and more, and yet you do not give first?
What is God’s grace to humankind? God has granted us love and mercy regardless of our undeservingness, and does the reverential awe and fear of this make our heart quicken? Jesus was long suffering. Jesus was patient. Jesus was generous. Jesus was focused. Jesus was intentional. God in all of his parts and ways is love. Jesus embodied love and truth on Earth, and we witness this tenfold in His life, light, and gift of His comforting, teaching Spirit who has remained wearing His attitude and intention. Above all, we witness His love in His great Justice, which was spilled in His commands to love each other. As it is written in John 13:34, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Jesus asked us to love each other as He has loved us. We must not forget that the Father is in Him and He is in the Father. All that Jesus said he said with the help of the Father. Jesus spilled the Father’s words and heart on earth with His supernatural intercession within.
Do we act and speak from love? Do we seek to wash others with tsunamis of love?
“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.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
Love is not self-seeking. Self-seeking is defined as having concerns or interests of one’s own welfare or wellbeing before those of others by the New Oxford American Dictionary. Do you truly love others? Do you place the needs, interests, and concerns of others above your own? Do you seek to serve by love?
Because if you do not, keep in mind what the first four verses of 1 Corinthians 13 says “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
God’s grace should compel us to live to love. God’s sacrifice is a beautiful gift. God loves us so much, that we should be falling flat on our faces in heavy tears over His great love. We should love the Lord with every fiber of our being, and love him so much that our heart explodes with hopes and joys to see His name being exalted. Out of love, and out of light of his sacrifice… we should make ourselves a worthy sacrifice on this planet. We should be quick to sacrifice our time, money, mind, hands, and heart to worship him and glorify Him…. because of how much we love our GOD! If not this, then Jesus’ command should compel us to live to love. God’s very powerful Holy Spirit is living within us. This should compel us to do a lot more than we are. We should be shaking up the entire world for the Lord. We should be turning this place upside down. Making sacrifices, giving out of love, serving by love, speaking out of love, and sharing the Truth by love should be the first, primary, and constant desire of our heart. We should do whatever it takes to shed more love in a day. We should pour love and light over those who believe, and over those who we can lead to believe. Fear to do any of this is from the deceiver. Fear of man, fear of losing money, fear of being mocked, fear of being rejected, fear of getting hurt…. is not from the Lord. The Lord strengthens, empowers, and protects. I ask the family of believers to question who they fear right now. Have you fashioned your own God? What or who do you serve? You serve what or who you fear. Our only fear belongs to the Lord. We must not be scared of Him, but be aware that he is not our cool, hippie God. God is sacred, divine, splendorous, incredible, and glorious. He is everything. We should tremble before Him in our reverential fear and awe because well, simply put, HE IS GOD! GOD IS GOD OF ALL CREATION AND BEING! He is not the master of human gratification and satisfaction. He is not hippie Jesus. He is not the One who is doing everything we want. Humble yourselves before the great, powerful, all seeing, and awing God, lest you find pride, arrogance, and foolishness dyeing and polluting your heart. Let us all have strong fear for the Lord only.
Let us feel compelled to do all that we can to advance the kingdom of God! Let us be warriors of light! We are called to have faith, and we are called to action!
As James 2:14-26 says, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
We must spread love! We must spread kindness! We must spread resources, money, clothes, and everything we have! We must not store up treasures on this earth that rot, break, burn, and turn back into dust! We must be relational. We must spread the Truth! We must share the Word! We must set our eyes on the Lord, and set our heart on advancing his kingdom! As soon as you stop asking what God can do for YOU next, you make yourself ready and capable to work for your brothers and sisters thirsty for hope, love, help, and the Light.
Let God’s Spirit within lead you into servanthood on a daily basis. What does this mean for you?
This might mean that you need to take the time to turn the weekend into spreading the gospel in your community. This might mean that you need to donate all of the clothes that you have been hoarding since a decade ago. This might mean that you need to turn your social media accounts into a platform for the Lord, rather than man’s approval for you. This might mean that your soon arriving tax return needs to become a big piece of funding for you to distribute Bibles, clothes, food, money, everything you can think of for those who may be in need in any way big or small. This might mean that you need to take the time to clean the trash out of the elderly neighbor’s yard for him, and when he asks why you did it say for the love that God instills in your heart. This might mean that you need to be willing to buy someone’s little cart of groceries in front of you, and insist that it is the Lord that is blessing them. This might mean that you need to be willing to strike up conversations about the Lord with your barista, barber, accountant, dentist, physician, gardner, coworker, daughter-in-law, employee, waiter, and whoever else crosses your path.
Be STRONG! Be BOLD! Be EXCITED!
Spread the goodness of God! Spread the Truth! Be excited to be a light! Be excited to SPREAD LOVE IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST!
Thank God for his greatness. Thank God for his grace!
I pray that all of you will move, act, speak, and do all that you can for the glory of GOD! DO ALL THAT YOU CAN FROM THIS MOMENT ON FOR THE GLORY OF GOD! SPREAD LOVE, LIGHT, HOPE, TRUTH, AND JOY!
GOD BE WITH YOU! GOD INSPIRE YOU! GOD USE YOU! GOD GLORIFY HIMSELF IN YOU! PRAISE, HONOR, GLORY, AND POWER BE TO THE ONE GOD FOREVER AND EVER.
HOLY IS HE!
Painting title/right is You Are Not Alone By Laur Iduc.
He is picking his ruby rose.
He is tearing off its thorns and trimming its stem.
He is gathering a heavenly bouquet.
He is sniffing its sweet scent.
He is placing it on his own table.
He is admiring it with his own delighting eye.
His home is glorified with the bouquet He chose, picked, groomed, and arranged by hand.
His joy and pleasure is magnified by the beauty He arranged and adorned His own home with.
Yet in His peculiar home,
Roses never die.
Life flows so freely in His vase,
Because His water is that of which one drop,
Is eternally enough.
How much more should we praise God than our ancestors! How much MORE!
We know so much more of his power, beauty, talent, skill, creativity, and splendorous design!
We have traveled and connected with so many parts of the world. We have photographed them. We have explored them. We have climbed the highest mountains. We have dove to deepest parts of the sea. We have swept through jungles. We have slid on icy expanses.
We have walked on the moon. We investigate the depths of the celestial bodies with precise telescopes and cameras. We exchange beauty of his creations and wonders of all of our planet with hasty ease. We reach these nooks and crannies without much difficulty.
We marvel in the greatness of God’s hands! We explore his great work! We share freely photos, descriptions, stories, and maps with the move of our fingers!
How much more should we bow to praise God.
God has revealed his mysteries to us. He has revealed his plan. He has done a new thing. He has sent his son Jesus Christ to save the world. It has been done! We experience his Holy Spirit, who reaches in us to teach us, freely in this life.
We know the story of the Lord’s movement and plan for humans from the beginning to the end, because we are lucky enough to read the sacred text from the beginning to the end. The only thing we wait for now is for the Lord to return and finish all of this.
We have answers. We have the Truth. We have hope. We have Life. We have a path. We have the Way.
How much more blessed are we than any ever before! How much do the Lord’s undeserved blessings rain down on us! We are blessed! We have so much to celebrate! We have so much to rejoice about! We have the entire world, peoples, and nearby celestial bodies to witness freely with new technology and communications! We have the transportation technology to get us everywhere we could hope to explore! We have the complete living Word of the Lord to renew our mind in every single moment that we would like! We have the Spirit to teach us within!
We have the ability to share the Lords greatness in too many ways to name.
The greatest crime is that the devil makes people feel depressed or lost in things that do not matter, and they do not see the Lord, the Way, and the consequences.
Painting – Alone With God Together. I do not own.