Sold out?

How about we look at some stories (this is a rhetorical suggestion, for I am about to take you through some stories):

I shunned friends and co-workers to go to church on Sunday mornings. I sacrifice each week by giving about twenty to thirty per cent of my income to help the church function and grow. I help out with the children and youth, and I sometimes greet people at the door. Every so often I even help during offering and communion by passing items from row to row.

 

I was invited to a church building by some friends. The message amazed me, so I began believing in this person called Jesus Christ. There was a message about giving to those in need, and I knew the church needed some things I had. I gave them my new stereo, a bunch of my clothes, and whatever may have been needed and I had. My parents thought I had gone crazy!

 

I was living my life, doing what I wanted when I wanted how I wanted. When I was almost in an accident I realized I had forgotten God. I began letting some of my friends go, I ended a relationship, I lost my job, sold or gave away the majority of my possessions, and ended up following God’s call to a new place where I knew no one. I was homeless and without money most of the time, wondering where or if I might get something to eat each day. My family thought I had gone crazy. In truth, in some ways I had, for I believed some crazy things during that time. However, I truly discovered God.

 

I was living my life trying to get by. One day, someone came and told us about this man named Jesus. The story of this man was so amazing! I had to do something! I believed this message, and when I learned there was a family twelve miles away with a couple of pages from this book that talked about Jesus I decided every week to walk the twelve miles to get a chance to read these pages and talk with this family about Jesus.

 

I lived fearing for my life. The government has made it hard to provide for my family, and I followed all of the laws for fear of disappearing one day. Then someone told me about Jesus Christ. I allowed the Lord to change me. Today, I sit in a prison waiting to find out if I will be beaten or killed today or soon, and all because I told the leaders of my town about Jesus. Every opportunity I have I share this good news with the jailers and other inmates, and sometimes I am beaten for it.

Some of these stories are actually from my own past. The others are taken from others’ personal testimony. (I am not telling which are which, but if you know me you might be able to figure it out)

Who would you say is more sold out for Jesus?

Is this a trick question? Yes and no.

You see, I put these in an order that shows more levels of sacrifice. For some, each story may be their calling in life while the other stories are for other people. This is why it can be a trick question. But what if you are the person from the first story? Would you be willing to give up your car to someone in need? What if you are the person in the second story? Would you be willing to give up everything? Would you be willing to go out of your way and spend a lot of time out of your day to travel to hear the Word of God and learn more about Jesus? Are you willing to drop everything, share the Gospel with a stranger, and possibly be beaten, imprisoned, or killed?

As I grew, I found myself giving more to God and in different ways. Today, I feel like I am not doing enough, even though I am going to school to be better equipped to serve Him, and I work in an environment in which I am able to encourage other believers and share the Gospel with others (though, technically, I could lose my job for that second part).

That makes me wonder sometimes if I am truly sold out.

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.             Mark 10:17-22

And:

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”        Luke 19:1-8

Who was more sold out? The man who did everything required, or the man who acted out of pure love and desire for God?

Where are you?

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 02/19/2012

Here is a sort of fun one that I wrote one day in minor frustration about some people’s unnecessary reviews of my poetry.

God bless!

i do not like to write poetry

i do not like to write poetry
but poetry just comes to me
i get criticized about my poems
that i do not try enough with them
but if you do not like what i write
you do not have to read
if you like
my poems are for me and God
and i write them all because
i wish to express my feelings
about people or God s teachings
if you should read from these
just try to see what i mean
i do not like to write poetry
but it helps me know me
and God

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 38.

Something Hallmark Will Never Express Adequately

I do not care whether you think Saint Valentine’s Day is one of the most romantic days of the year or the scourge of the calendar. For my thoughts on this day, see my posts from last year here, here, here, and here.

The point we all need to see is this:

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

1 John 3:16-24; 4:7-21, NIV

Happy Valentine’s Day!

May the love of God fill and overflow from your heart!

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 02/12/2012

I not only write poetry, as you may have learned by the bulk content of this blog. I occasionally also write little quips, proverbs, parables, and other fun things. Like this:

If God thinks you are driving too fast,
He will put a natural speed bump in your way…
Some would call it a deer.

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 28.

I still have a poem for you, though!

taking my cross

Jesus said to take up your cross
and then to follow Him.
I tried to take up my cross
and bear the whole burden.
Finally I gave up carrying my cross
and asked Jesus to help.
Then I found that He was strapped to my cross
waiting for me to lose myself.
Now I let Him carry my cross
and He bears all the pain.
I just ride along on my cross
praising His holy name.

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 29.

Louis Giglio is amazing. Nature is amazing. God is amazing.

Watch and listen to this video as Louis demonstrates how God literally has orchestrated our universe and how in tune Christians can be.

I like the guy. He really is a good role model for our young people (and old people)!

Weary Rest

I am quite tired.

I have not really had a good break in a while. I have been working in classrooms with autistic children for about six months, and it can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. I only have had four weeks off from school in the last two and a half years. My current class is a true test in patience due to human factors, therefore it is more mentally and emotionally taxing than it needs to be. My wife and I volunteer in many areas of our local church and with friends’ ministries. Also, three weeks ago our car kicked the bucket (stopped working), and we have had to deal with that. (We got a vehicle on Thursday night!) One area of my character God is helping me work on is dealing with (my lack of patience with) stupidity in others. Needless to say, I have plenty of opportunities throughout almost every day to work on this!

I am tired.

I know many people understand. I mean, I do not have children of my own, yet! I can only imagine (though I get some experience with the classrooms in which I have worked)!

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Many teach that this refers to our eternal rest in God, that we will suffer in this world and receive rest from all of our pains and troubles in the next world.

This is certainly true. However, I offer another teaching that is out there.

I am tired. I get up everyday, go to work or church or launch straight into homework. I often finish my days (nights) working on homework. I get between five and seven hours of sleep on a good night.

What gets me up every morning?

There is my beautiful wife. She makes every day worth it!

The children in the classroom have a tendency to bring a smile to my face, even when I have to change a smelly pull-up diaper and deal with spit, snot, and pee. They help keep me young!

I get to share the love of Christ with children, teens, young adults, and many other people throughout my week. My life has some meaning!

I even get to drive around in a new(er) vehicle (at the moment)!

None of these really gets me up every morning, though.

My wife and I finish our nightly prayers the same way each night: “Lord, give us Your rest tonight that we might be ready for whatever You have for us tomorrow.”

We do not just mean “let us sleep well.” We give God all of our worries, fears, drama, joys, laughs, and dreams.

He gladly takes our burdens.

Okay, physically I might be pushing it a little. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, my God relieves me and restores me.

Do you give God all of your life? (We can discuss the full implications later, but for this context I mean worries, fears, drama, joys, laughs, and dreams.) Can you give God the weight on your shoulders?