Thoughts… pt1

Thoughts while reading 2 Kings chapter 17
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What a hard pill to swallow; the list of debauchery in Israel.
I can’t help but to think of the current state of America, or even the current state of American Christians; my current state.

How many graven images have we begun to worship?
How many idols have we set before ourselves?
Whose guidance and approval have we intertwined with our pursuit of identity?
How many commandments have we abandoned to look for a better way?
Our own way.

The not-so-wise counsel of the world has not only become our desire, but we claim it to be our truth.
What images have we set before ourselves of our own creation that take our worship and leave us feeling worthless?

Oh how we have let down our children.
Those alive, we have taught to devote their time to distraction and instant satisfaction.
And those no longer, we have sent to the grave to satisfy our own selfish nature.

Is anything holy? Is anything sacred?
Have we so fixated our focus on the pursuit of self-betterment that we have completely taken our eyes off of the only One who can make us good?

Is the LORD angry with me;
or have i brought the anger of the LORD to myself?
Comparison is what we use to save us from the same fate of Israel in 2 Kings 17.
We tell ourselves that the world has changed.
We tell ourselves that we aren’t as bad.
We tell ourselves that Grace abounds.

Grace abounds. Yes indeed; Grace abounds.
Not so we can keep on sinning; but so in our pursuit of Christ, He picks us up when we fall short.

To live is Christ; therefore, we should live.
In order to truly live, our nature must fall.
To truly live, we must live by the nature of Christ. The nature of His Spirit.
It cannot be my power, your power; it must be by His Spirit.

That is when truth begins to live; when we live by truth.
Everything else is a lie.
Everything else falls short.
Everything else leads to broken promises and empty dreams.

Truth is truth because it stands alone in echoes of eternity.
The earth is so tangible to us.
But don’t let tangibility shy you from the truth of its finite nature.
Heaven, as intangible as it seems, exists infinitely.
Beyond that; yes beyond finite and infinite planes of existence lives truth.

For God alone is before all things and after all things.
He begins all things and ends all things.
Nothing lasts longer than our God.
He is love, He is truth.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” – Matthew 24:35

Father let me not pass away.
Let my temptation pass away.
Let my desires pass away.
But never let your presence pass away from me.

You will find Him

2 Chronicles 15:15
“All Judah rejoiced concerning the oath, for they had sworn with their whole heart and had sought Him earnestly, and He let them find Him. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.”

When they swore with their whole heart and sought Him with their whole desire, the found Him.
Jeremiah 29 also tells us that we will find God when we seek for Him with our whole heart.

How often do we stop looking for God when we don’t find Him on the first try?
How often do we stop relying on prayer when it’s not answered when we first ask?
If my whole heart is in something, I don’t usually give up after one failed attempt. Or even two fails, three…and so on.

If my whole heart is in something, no matter how many times I may fail to get what I was looking for, I still try and try and try until it finally happens.
God tells us that if we seek after Him with our WHOLE heart, WE WILL FIND HIM.

Not only will we find Him, but in 2 Chronicles, God gave them REST after they found Him. Finding God doesn’t come without Him wanting to give us something.

What are you seeking God for?
Are you seeking Him in order to receive something?
Or are you seeking Him just to find Him?

Because you WILL find Him if you seek Him with your WHOLE HEART.
Not a selfish heart. Not to gain something.
But a selfless heart yearning for a connection to HIM.
And you WILL find Him and He WILL give you rest.

 

 

gb

Let me tell you about the LOVE of my LIFE

love is patient, love is kind. love keeps no record of wrong.

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when i finally got to that place where my destiny lied solely in the hands of God, it was unlike anything i had experienced before.
i moved to Clermont, Fl with no car, no money and no job.
i followed a spark in my spirit to move in with my college room mate and best friend to do ministry together at a church.
little did i know that God was going to stretch me in ways i didn’t know that i could be stretched. i reached the point to where i didn’t care if i ever make a dime, God would be my provider.

over the next year and a half, i watched as the things i had been diligently praying for for years begin to surface in my life. i prayed for housing, a car, the ability to begin paying my student loans, a full-time job and a place in a church where i felt like i was making a difference.
God showed up in my life and began putting the pieces of my destiny together. i was burning on all cylinders and it felt good.

except, i began to feel alone.

i began to wonder why i hadn’t found the love of my life yet. why hadn’t God answered that prayer?

and if it’s not bad enough, people kept coming up to me literally asking me “where’s your wife, Greg?”

believe me, if i knew, we’d be married by now.

i began to pray. i knew from past experience that if i try to search for the girl i wanted, she would stop short of who God wanted her to be for me.
so i waited. and waited.

and waited.

one day (Dec 6th to be exact), i was in a rom-com-grab-me-a-pint-of-ice-cream-and-a-blanket-and-leave-me-alone mood; i began to write a song cleverly titled, “where are you now?”
maybe i thought that somewhere around the world my future wife’s spirit would hear the words of the song and come running into my arms.

11692603_10206945889589383_3246431417684537947_na few days later (Dec 10th actually), i hear a knock on my classroom door.
(i have been serving as a teacher at a small christian school in central Florida for the past year and a half. never thought i’d be a teacher, but when you submit to God, He puts you in places that you never thought you’d be….and for good reason this time).
in walks the principal and her 20 year old daughter.

now, i’m a respectful guy. my parents taught me good manners, so i stood up and walked right up to this beautiful woman i see before me and shook her hand.
“nice to meet you”

(ugh. that’s it bro? that’s all you got? you blew it).

later she’ll tell me that she thought i was the cutest thing but she’ll never settle down with someone who was called to be a school teacher……..(i swear God, come on man).

3 months later she shows up in my classroom, AGAIN.
me, still single….still very, very, VERY single.

this time i work up the courage to tell her that if i had her number i could arrange a hang out while she was still in town. (going for it!! honestly, i was only focused on being a good friend…..for now).
in a very cute and romantic way, she leaves a note on my desk computer which included her phone number and the first joke i made to her earlier in the day in hopes she took some kind of pity on my failed humor and thought i was cute enough to receive her attention.

we meet up two days later and have the best 4 hour long conversation about everything.
i mean EVERYTHING.
the stuff you don’t share with someone you’re crushing on. the insider information.
the hard lessons of life and faith.

 

i realized that i had finally made a choice in my life to always be honest no matter what. to not hold back on areas of faith or truth, but to stand up for what i believe in no matter what. if someone can’t deal, then they aren’t worth the time or investment. i was going to be true to myself no matter what anyone else thought.

this philosophy i began to live by brought me pure joy. i had never been happier in my daily decisions, but i was still alone.

i ask her a question about something i can’t remember and she gives me this response that seemed repeated or stolen from how other people view the topic.
i sensed that she probably felt differently, but wanted to not look over the top.
i began to tell her why she was wrong and why i believed a different way, backed up with scripture references and points from my faith.
and then i FROZE.

i had let my inside voice out.

i had shown just how much of a Jesus nerd i was to this girl on the very first time of hanging out and i was now 100% certain that she was going to run for the hills.

she took a pause, almost taken back because she didn’t expect such a passionate and truthful response.
(i know it’s hard to visualize, but i don’t actually remember the topic because what was happening around the topic was so much more memorable to me).
she stared down as i saw the wheels behind her eyes turn as fast as they could.11823098_10154087911559951_5767376592079766902_o

she stops and says, “actually i agree with you now, i like your answer better.”

i didn’t even realize it but i was holding my held breath as i waited for her response. i try to exhale without her knowing just how long i was holding my breath.
for the first time, i was fully myself in front of a complete stranger and didn’t hold back.

i guess i needed 25 years of life in order to truly find myself and not apologize for who i am.
and i guess i needed 25 years of life to find the person who would never ask for me to become someone that i’m not.

the next 3 and a half months fly by.

honestly, the story of our first date (after this first encounter) answered all the questions i would ever have about Kristen and if we were right for each other or not. (but that’s for a different post)

this woman that i’ve prayed for my whole life.
an independent, self-assured, driven woman to support my passions and my beliefs.
to kick my butt when i’m wrong and cling to me when i’m right.
to walk beside me as a partner.
to be as beautiful on the inside as she is on the out.
and to have a drive and passion of her own to change the world one life at a time in her own way.

this woman was real and she was now in my life as the truest experience of the human condition.

because of the honesty.
because of our faith.
because of our openness and humility towards each other, the question of marriage came up before being boyfriend and girlfriend did.

and the rest is a growing piece of history.11873416_10207200910924757_681185981412168696_n

everyday i find a new piece of Kristen that i realize i had prayed for long ago.

she pushes me. makes me better. she’s not afraid to be strong and even less afraid to show weakness.
she feels pushes herself but also knows when to fall into my arms and ask for help.
she’s a companion. a beautiful soul.
she’s not afraid to grow old with me, to take every challenge as it comes and learn WITH me along the way.

neither of us know it all and neither of us knows what lies on the road ahead.
but if and when times get tough we will cling to God and we will cling to each other.
HE will pull us through.

God really does answer prayer and i’m forever grateful that He answered my prayers on HIS timeline and not mine.
any moment sooner and i would not have made the same decision that first day of contact to be who i am and not try to impress.

she is meant for me, and i am meant for her.

i am getting married to my best friend.

and WE are meant to bring the LIGHT where it doesn’t belong.

this is faith. this is love. this is the love of my life.

*Kristen and i are very excited to be getting married on May 28th, 2016 and we will be moving to Miami, Florida.
*to track our wedding craziness and locate our registry go HERE
*wedding day festivities and times are still subject to change

i have found the one my soul loves (sos 3:4)