Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why I Serve God

I was talking with a relatively new friend (who is not a Christian) about God the other day and about what I believe.  They asked me why I believe in God and I told them that it was more than just "belief" but that I actually KNOW God and I told them that I believed because it is the TRUTH.  I don't simply believe because it is good or it is the best way for me to live life or because my faith makes me feel good or whatever.  I follow God because I KNOW Him.

I am fortunate enough and BLESSED enough to have had undeniable, radically life-changing encounters with God of which I am aware that most people have not had.  God decided to reveal Himself to me and from that point on, I know I would be living a lie if I lived ANY other way.  I follow God because I HAVE to....because I KNOW Jehova (God the Father) is THEE SOVEREIGN God.  There are plenty of other "gods," but He is Almighty.  I FEAR Him.  That is why I follow Him.

You know what the most incredible thing is though......is that not only do I HAVE to follow God and serve Him.....but I am GLAD TO!!!  I LOVE it!  I consider it a duty to serve God strictly out of fear and reverence, BUT even MORE IMPORTANTLY I see it as a remarkable privilege!!! He is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good.  Thank you Lord for being who you are!  And I'm not just tryin to be a pushover or suck-up to God right here.  I really do mean it.  I have some pretty freakin' incredible, loyal, trustworthy, funny, intelligent, loving friends........but their personalities and character all suck compared to God's.  No joke.  Think of your best friend....right now.  The one person who you trust the most who would be your maid of honor or your best man in your wedding.  Now multiply their goodness by at least 3.2 billion and you still end up with only a fraction of God's goodness.

I don't feel like I'm getting my point across well enough....It's like this: I have to serve God because He is my master.....but even if I didn't HAVE to serve Him, I would have CHOSEN to serve Him anyway!  His goodness, His love, His character is too enticing for me to reject.  He CREATED me, SAVED me when I was sinning against Him, and consistently blesses me beyond what I deserve.  His grace is truly amazing and so mysterious.

There are many things about the Gospel that I wish were different.  I'm not afraid to admit that at all.  Shoot, I'll even tell God that all the time.  I have to be real with Him.  There are some things about His ways that I do not like.  For instance, I wish that everybody was going to heaven.  I wish that I could sin with no repercussions.  I wish that I would never have to suffer for Christ.  I wish God would have never cast Satan to the earth.  I wish my human nature wasn't so carnal.  I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller, and so on and so on...MY POINT IS....I don't follow God ONLY because I want things to be the way He says....I follow God because I have found that every word from His Holy Word is true and every word from His Holy Spirit is true as well.

Thankfully for us, the Gospel is not only TRUE, but it is GOOD.....so so so so so SOOOO good.  Praise the freakin' LORD for that!

Sometimes the truth hurts ladies and gentleman.....BUT I guarantee you it will set you free.

If you have any questions about God or Jesus or Christianity or the Bible or anything....PLEASEEEEE ask me and I would love to talk about it.....even if you totally disagree with what I'm saying :).  Anyway.....that's all I got for now, so until next time......PEACE!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The 3rd Commandment

Just as a precursor, my motivation for writing this specific entry is because it has been breaking my heart hearing personal testimonies from people who have been turned away from God specifically BECAUSE OF the church (aka because of Christians).  It seriously really really makes me sad.  People are missing out on salvation because of this and there is nothing more important in the world than that.

Now with that said.....here's the deal....we have absolutely been butchering the 3rd commandment as Christians lately.  I need to set the record straight so that we can love, serve, and honor God adequately.

The 3rd commandment reads as follows:
"You shall not take the name of Jehova your God in vain, for Jehova will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain." - Exodus 20:7 


(Now I know that the actual translation doesn't use God's name (Jehova), it actually says "LORD," BUT we aren't talking about Lord Voldemort here, God is not He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named....He is our dad, so I am not afraid to call Him by name.)

What does this commandment mean?  It means to not say things like, "Oh my God!" or "Jesus CHRIST!" and things of that nature.  Now to expand on that last point...I was totally lying.  That is NOT what the commandment means at all.  Frankly, this seems like a small little thing, but it actually holds great magnitude and is imperative that we understand what the true meaning is, which is actually common sense but we are just stupid and ignorant often times.  I don't think God would waste one of His 10 commandments just to tell us not to cuss.

So then, what does it ACTUALLY mean to "not take the name of Jehova your God in vein?"  The best way to explain is through marriage, which is another gift from God that teaches us how to love Him (just like the commandments are).  When a bride is wed to her husband, she takes his name.  Sound familiar?  She now carries the name of her husband.  She represents her husband in whatever she does and is in fact "one flesh" with her husband.  In that same regard, we are not supposed to take God's name in vein. We should not take the title of CHRISTian (bearing the name of Christ) if we are not going to live our lives according to His will, His commands, and His commission.

To call yourself a Christian and then go out and live a life of sin and total disregard of God is the direct violation of THIS commandment.  To call yourself a a Christian and then be unforgiving, ungracious, and unmerciful is a direct violation of this commandment.

If I could put the commandment into my own words, I would phrase it like this....
"Do not claim to be a Christian if you will not live your life as Christ did."  THAT is what the commandment means.

If we just chalk this commandment up to God telling us NOT to cuss, then we have severely missed out on a major command from our Father.

If you are going to be a Christian, it needs to be the MOST IMPORTANT thing in your life.  EVERYTHING you do, everything you desire should be modeled off of your relationship with God.  Taking His name in vein is a big no-no.  The biggest reason God hates when people take His name is vein is NOT because it hurts HIM, it is because it hurts those of us that don't know Him.

When we take on the name of "Christian," we are official representatives of God.  We are the light of the world.  We are the ones that show God to others to bring them into His kingdom.  If we MISrepresent God, then not only will people miss out on a relationship with their Heavenly Father, but even more importantly our Heavenly Father will miss out on a relationship with His people.

I have spoken to a few people just in the last month who have grown to HATE God because of other "Christians."  These "Christian" friends of theirs have tainted the name of God to these people because they have taken the name of God in vein.  They now believe that God is just like them: spiteful, selfish, angry, vengeful, and arrogant.

It is VITAL that we obey this 3rd commandment and that we adhere to it closely and with all our hearts. We are God's ambassadors and the world CANNOT afford for us to misrepresent Him and turn people away from Him.  We are supposed to be doing the opposite.  We are supposed to be bringing people into His kingdom, not pushing them away because of our disobedience.

I'll just end with this, if you want to live according to the ways of this world, then go for it....just don't pretend that you're a Christian.  It hurts God, it hurts other real Christians, and it hurts non-Christians.  It's just an overall bad situation.  Jesus said that if you love Him, then you will obey His commands (John 14:15).  That is what HE said, not me.  I love Jesus.  I do not obey Him perfectly, but my heart is fully dedicated to trying.  He does not demand that we be perfect.  If that were the case, I would be in a LOT of trouble.  That's all I've got for now, so until next time........PEACE!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Angels

I started writing out this long thing how I haven't blogged for a while and blah blah blah, but I just deleted it cuz I realized that no one really cares why I've been gone.  The point is I'm back and ready to keep it real in the blog world again.  So here we go....Angels.

I've always been fascinated with angels and angelic things.  Just recently, a big thing that I've been talkin about with some of my Godly brothas in crime is angels.  Also, I have been reading and talkin with God even more about them.  I tell God to say what's up to my guardian angel for me and let him know that I appreciate all that stuff he does for me, even though I literally haven't seen a single thing that he's done.  I trust that he's puttin in work for me though.  If anyone has seen the movie Surf Ninjas then you will get this reference, if not, then you REALLY gotta go see this movie cuz its classic and Keno from Ninja Turtles is in it, and so is Rob Schneider.  Anyway, I like to think of my guardian angel as Zach, sent to protect me, while I am just doin my thing.  He is a way better fighter and he is sent to protect me until I recognize my true identity as a prince.  Now that I am actually typing this out, I am starting to realize just how dead on this analogy is!  Wow, it's kinda ridiculous.

For those that haven't seen the movie, I'll lay it out as simply as I can.  It's like this: I'm a prince but didn't realize it because I was separated from my father, the true King.  My father sent one of his subjects (angels) to come protect me from the enemy until I realized my full potential and identity as a warrior prince.  Then when I stepped into my identity as a prince/king, I became far more powerful than even that mighty angel assigned to protect me.  Now that angel becomes my servant, still ready to serve and protect me at all costs.

Sorry, but did you know that we are all princes and princesses in the kingdom of heaven!!????  Do you know how TIGHT that is???  Those aren't just words or empty titles, it's REAL.

ANYWAY, the main point that I have been getting hit with is that we, as Spirit-filled believers, are more powerful than even the mightiest angels of heaven.  The Bible says that angels are simply "ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation" (Hebrews 1:14).  If you keep reading in Hebrews, it talks more about this.  It basically goes like this, man was made lesser than the angels, but was crowned with honor and glory.  God gave us dominion over the earth, and I have a theory that perhaps part of Satan's rebellion was because of his jealousy of humanity.  DO NOT get it twisted, this is just a theory of mine.  It is not for sure the truth.  We were made in God's image, and Satan, even with all his beauty, was jealous that though we were lesser than him and all the other species of angels (yeah....there are different species and types of angels like seraphim, cherubim, archangels, freaky-looking angels with 6 wings and eyes plastered over their entire bodies that roll around on wheels and such, and beautiful majestic angels also), God decided to create US in HIS image and favor us over His angels.  I can attest that is one of the reasons the devil hates us all so much, because every time he looks at you, he sees God.....and that fool HATES God, therefore he hates us.

There was this one specific instance where God showed me tangibly that I carry more authority in this world than His angels do.  I won't go too deep into detail, but I was speaking with this woman who could see into the spirit (as in see angels and demons with her physical eyes) and had been able to since birth.  She knew that I was a man of God and she was being troubled by this one demon.....OK, I'll be blunt, "troubled" is putting it lightly.  It was more like she was being tormented, and she was freaked out and telling me all about it.  With all the stuff she was telling me, I was getting pissed off.  I was seriously furious.  Some freaky stuff went down, but in a nutshell, I asked God, "will you send one of your biggest baddest angels to go take care of this demon RIGHT NOW because it has no authority to be doing what it's doing to your daughter right now?"  Then God immediately responded with a very clear and definitive, "No."  And I was taken aback a little bit and started to question Him and started saying something back, but then He cut me off and said, "I sent YOU."

That hit me pretty freakin hard.  I was like, "whoa."  God had chosen ME to cast this demon out.  He wanted ME to carry out His will.  He wanted ME to be His ambassador and his vessel.  Once again, I won't get into the whole details of what went down, you can ask me personally if you wanna know, but I basically started just speaking directly to this demon sternly with my words inspired by the Holy Spirit. I gave it orders to leave and other specific things, and then it had to do everything I said.  It was really really mad about it too.  Then right after I was done speaking, I released it and it stormed off in a rage.  Then I started thanking and praising God and He chimed in with a, "Braeden, don't you understand that you are more powerful than my angels?"  At the time I DID NOT know that, but now I certainly do.

I think a great characterization of our relationship as men and women to angels can be seen in the Chronicles of Narnia movies or books.  Although I thought my Surf Ninjas reference was pretty on-the-money, I know most people haven't seen that movie (even though it's an absolute classic).  Therefore, the Chronicles of Narnia would probably serve as a better example.  They travel into Narnia, where there are all these big, monstrous, mighty creatures who all seem way more powerful than them because they are just lowly humans.  Yet still, these strong minotaurs and centaurs and talking animals and stuff bow down to them and are in awe of them and in service to them.  They don't get it at first because they think they are just lowly guys and girls.  As they meet up with Aslan (Jesus) though and start to recognize who they are through Him, they become aware of their TRUE identities and step into their potential as princes and princesses of the whole kingdom.  Soon, they are the most powerful warriors on the battlefield, even above all the minotaurs and other mighty creatures (angels).  It is EXACTLY how it is for us.

Let's not grow conceited or cocky about this though.  Cuz in all realness, we were made weaker than the angels.  They are greater than us in every single way except for one.  We have the Holy Spirit living in us, and they do not.  We bear the very image of God.  We are nothing without the blood of the Lamb and the power of His Holy Spirit sent as a gift to empower us and to be a "deposit guaranteeing our inheritance" (2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:14).  So REMEMBER that all the glory goes to God our Father and His Son Jesus, our champion, savior, redeemer, and king.

I am laying in bed right now and am about to pass out, soooo......that's all I got for now.  Until next time, PEACE and LOVE!