I found myself in Romans today and was led here, "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.”
Romans 8:1,2-3 NLT
Lately I've noticed a shift with people concerning religion, religious affiliation and a lot of arguments that lead to a dead end. Many seem to be living by works, religious rules and regulations that are more damaging than anything. I steer clear of religious minded conversations and discussions simply because I'm building relationship with Christ. My relationship has nothing to do with denomination, affiliation or religious activities but everything to do with a savior who died so that I could live life free from guilt or shame. I guess I'm a part of the "new generation" who's not down with the idea that somehow the church was better then or needs to go backwards. I think that legalism is a two way street in many ways. As young adults we are anti- suits, anti- choir music and so on but just as we are shaking our heads at the generation before us they're doing the same thing. It leaves a gap, it leaves a wedge and a lot of hurt people who are missing Jesus on both ends.
I consider myself to be a young adult, I consider myself to be one of the young people who wants to be a light for Christ in this dark, cold world and I think that there is definitely a strong move of God going on. I find myself in conversations with my sisters, friends quite often about the lord, devotionals and what I'm studying, who I'm listening to and outside of the few I discuss these things with I'm often met with stares or silence. There is a "churched culture" out here with no biblical knowledge yet they sit around complaining about everything that is wrong with the body of Christ... #PAUSE I don't get into those type of discussions because for one they're not Godly. The bible tells me in Ephesians 4:29 ASV “Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for edifying as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear.” Who are you to judge someone's walk with no knowledge of scripture or relationship with Christ yourself? We often wound our own body with our words and cut down our own soldiers with hurtful commentary. I am very big on not bashing preachers, ministers even gospel artist who've fallen short because we all do! I once was very overzealous and would listen to "church gossip" but I found that's it's not fruitful. If one of my brothers or sisters stumbles my first mind is to pray. I feel that if you're my sister or brother in Christ I should be able to sit down with you and discuss the word not what so and so is doing or not doing. I'm a part of a big purity ministry and we have groups where we get together monthly for bible study or just fellowship. Lately we make it a point to specifically pray for our sisters we haven't seen in awhile or lost contact with because you just never know what people are going through. We dare not EVER sit around discussing their personal lives or issues because that's malicious! It's not edifying to anyone to sit around bashing people's life choices. In the same breath that you tore that person down you could have prayed. I can't even get into the "exposing people" ministry or shaming people for their mistakes. That's not Godly, it's not edifying and it's damaging to the body, new believers or those who want to believe.
This isn't a post to tell people off which I've been told I do but I honestly see it more as a heart examination! I'm checking myself, my motives and if someone else is checked by it then have I not done what God called me to do? I struggle not just daily but by minute and by hour so why not be real about it and help someone else too? It's a new month so what I like to do is get quiet with God, pull up my devotional(s) my bible and see where he leads me. In order to grow in this relationship we have to be active, we need to be open to his leading and voice 24/7. Religious people see church as a duty, something on a checklist of time served and that way of thinking holds us back from Jesus more than anything. This is a relationship, it's a friendship and all throughout the day I find myself communicating with God about life as a whole.
I'm becoming more guarded about the things I watch, listen to and advice that I take. I've been asked how do you know when God is speaking to you. My first answer would be if your thoughts are contrary to his word that's not him speaking, that's self and being led by self is always a bad deal. I have a lot of dreams, ideas, goals and I'm a vision board girl but over the past couple years I've learned about the fine print. There's nothing wrong with goals, plans, vision boards just don't make them without consulting the ultimate event planner and goal setter! Your goals, your life is subject to change by the leading of the Holy Spirit. Oftentimes we make the mistake of listening to those around us, they talk us out of dreams, they question our plans but can I say that in this season I let their opinions roll out of their mouths but never pin to my heart. They mean well, they might even want what's best for you but at the end of the day we have to be led by God. There's always the money question, the how are you going to move here, why don't you take this job, why don't you major in this *MUTE* and find a quiet place! Often times I'll quietly walk away from conversations about bills, money etc and go pray because if I don't learn how to submit this fragile heart to him I'll continue to live in stress and worry. Moments I don't know how my rent is getting paid, I don't know if my phone will be off or on, I don't know how I'm going to pay this or that and in this season of life it's been HARD but in all sincerity I find myself crying out to Jesus on a new level. This past week I was battling with so much, my father is not well, a lot of responsibility concerning him has fallen on me even though we haven't seen each other in five years I'm the oldest and my sister and I have had to discuss things I have never thought to discuss. Disability paperwork, nursing homes and health care for a person neither one of us has a deep bond with but he's our father and we still love him. Not only that I started taking college courses again, I'm in between jobs, having issues with unemployment finances etc and I found myself heading into a familIar dark place... I'm going to be VERY honest because this is why I created this space, this blog and place. I contemplated suicide, I grappled with it and even thought God I just want to come live with you (yes I casted those thoughts back to hell) but I just really had a moment where I thought this life is way too much. I spent the week with my blood pressure up, sleepless nights and endless tears until last night I got very quiet literally fell on my knees. I started quoting scriptures and spilling my heart out to God! John 14:14 "Yes ask for ANYTHING in my name and I'll do it."
Romans 8:28-30 “And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren: and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” I just started speaking life right here in my bedroom and I started to tell the lord that I trusted him, I trusted his plan, I'm not starving or homeless so I started thanking him! I have the activity of all my limbs and I'm not physically bound and I started "going back to Bethel" as my pastor says in my mind! I started thinking of how far he's brought me and all the ways he's made and I felt such peace. Did I wake up to surprise money, surprise job or check? No, but nothing and nobody can take away this inner peace that I've inherited as a child of the King! I have to STOP stressing, I have to UNPLUG and close myself in my room with podcast, worship music and a steady stream of the handful of preachers that I allow to speak into my life. I have to stand in front of my prayer wall somedays and just speak life because he's GOOD on his word and he's a good father. The world deems us crazy for believing in a king we can't physically see but can I tell you that I've touched him? He's held me in unbelievable circumstances and situations so I often push that mute button on those who don't believe in him. Have I doubted him? Heck yeah! Have I questioned his existence? Heck yeah! And right when I do he turns around and does something to remind me he's there. I always share this story about a day last July where there was no food in my house I mean NOTHING. Both my sisters were at work and I was here alone, feeling very defeated but I heard the holy spirit say walk through this house and just pray. I found myself praying and then laying out on my living room floor in a puddle of tears (if you know me you know my tears are endless). My phone rang and it was my mom, she asked what I was doing, we chatted etc and I mentioned I'd been reading about Elijah and the widow (1 Kings 17:7-24) I jokingly said I need one of those type of miracles so let me check my mailbox maybe a surprise. I got off the phone and checked my mailbox to find a check for 95 dollars from a job I hadn't worked at in months, forgotten money they'd failed to give me. When I say I did laps around my living room? The dog was looking at me crazy! I called my mom barely able to form words. God hasn't forgotten me so I constantly go back to Bethel in my heart and mind and he meets me there. Once again this is a very random post LOL! If you've read this far into it I know that you love me and that you're praying for me, for my family and for the body of Christ as a WHOLE. I started this with the intent to shed light on the plague of confusion that's sweeping the body but ended on a completely different page. Either way I pray that whatever was written blessed you and helped you to want more of a relationship with Christ! Until next time keep Jesus first.- CDJ