Regarding my Facebook post from yesterday...

To whom it may concern:

Due to much deliberation I have deleted my Facebook post from yesterday. I welcome and encourage health debate and appreciate those who commented with sincerity and moral conviction regardless of how you viewed the situation itself.

The only reason I deleted the post is because someone took it upon themselves to attack me and a family member. That crossed the line in my book. While I'm thick-skinned and can handle tough converstations, debates, and even insults - I will not tolerate a sucker punch to a family member.

A few parting words -

I have no ill will towards the Osteens, their ministry, or church. I tend to steer away from most debates online. For whatever reason, I waded into the waters of Facebook disputation and walked away with very little fruit (save for a few really funny .gifs). There are plenty of Biblical examples of correction happening within the church, and I'd be more than happy to sit down with you in person or on the phone and show you. I concede that posting an article on Facebook isn't quite the same thing as Paul correcting Peter, however Paul does quite a bit of criticism of the church in a few of his epistles.

Moving on.

I won't post a link, but if you go to snopes.com, you can view the details and timeline on how things unfolded. View it for yourself if you'd like.

The most important thing is that people are being helped. It is incredibly encouraging to see so many people rallying around each other and their community. Suffolk was hit (on a extremely smaller scale) with a tornado about 10 years ago, and we saw first hand how important it is for churches, individuals, and local government to step up and serve each other.

A month before I moved to Nashville in 2010, the Music City was hit with a catastrophic flood that left widespread devastation and thousands of people displaced. Seeing pictures of streets and establishments that I love and frequent was heartbreaking.

Last September, Daytona and much of the East Coast were hit by Hurricane Matthew - debris everywhere, trees on houses, roofs ripped off of homes, costal roads washed away, etc...Our church, community, and people outside of our community came and served each other and exercised the love of Christ in the most sincere way.

Perhaps that's why I felt justified sharing what I did. I do not want to sit idly by while people need help - natural disaster or not.

I know that I can serve more, love better, and give grace more freely. That is what I will strive to achieve.

I want to reiterate that I sincerely appreciate the discourse that took place yesterday.

If there's something you still want to debate or disagree with, please contact me directly and I would be happy to have that conversation.

-Nic

This Is Not About Orlando

By: Nicolas Peaks

Two Brief Thoughts before I begin:

1) I wrote this in the wee hours of the night a few nights ago in my bed, on my iPhone.

2) Allow yourself to be changed. Allow yourself to grow. If you are set in your ways or are all out for this side or that side, then you should: stop, breathe, and remember that there is more than one point of view. We are imperfect beings who need to be challenged.

An excerpt from the Gospel of Matthew
Chapter 6

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."

Christ is the head and the authority of the Church. Not the President. Not Franklin Graham. Not the Constitution, nor the Bill of Rights. Not Conan O'Brien. Not Adele. Not the Pope. Not George Washington. Christ alone. 

Jesus commands us to love not only our neighbors but our enemies. That means there should be no one who is not loved.

He didn't recommend or suggest that we love our neighbors. He commanded it.

Jesus said the entire law hangs on this: love your neighbor and love God.

He broke bread with the most hated tax collector in town. As a Jew, Jesus sat at the well and engaged with a Samaritan woman - Jews and Samaritans didn't typically look at each other much less socialize. Christ reprimanded one of his closest friends when he (Peter) drew his sword to "protect" him. Jesus gave salvation to the criminal on the cross just before he died. Christ forgave the people who crucified him in His final moments of life...

These are just a few examples of how the Head of the Church leads the body.

I'm not making any political statements. I'm not joining in on the divisive speech that's been on social media nonstop since Sunday. I get it. There is great frustration. There is great anger. There is much sorrow and there is much loss. But are we presenting solutions? Are we solving anything? Are we helping the situation? Or are we stirring the pot, venting, and drawing lines in the sand?

I understand that it comes off as hypocritical to write this post while I'm calling out the rest of Facebook. So this can be your hopping off point. If you think know what I'm going to say and know you're going to disagree, then please don't feel any obligation to continue. 

But hear me out on one thing. About once a year something happens that challenges me to my core. Perhaps a book I read, something someone said to me, a message or speech I listened to, or something that happened in real life. 

I allow my perspective to be changed because Christ constantly challenged His followers to change. At no point did Peter, James, or John have it all figured out. If I think I've got it figured out or that none of my beliefs have room to change, then "woe, is me."

Moving on...

I refuse to tell people what to believe or how to live their lives. However, as a student minister I do my best to lead and show my students how Christ lived and how that affects and challenges us as His followers.

So if you are a follower of Christ, and you observe, study, and believe His teachings as truth, then you must lay aside your beliefs that have been shaped by your citizenship with this world.

If you want Him to build His kingdom, then yours must crumble.

It's easy to dislike or hate and it's easy to retaliate. It's reactionary.

Let us react differently than we have in the past.

Let us react the way Jesus did. With compassion. With understanding. With love.

I told my students a few weeks ago that people often act the way they do because they've been conditioned to act that way.

Simply put: a bully was bullied. By a bully. Or a relative. Or by bullied experiences.

Or:

Hurt people hurt people.

Hated people hate people.

Scared people scare people.

And so on and so forth.

Is this oversimplified? Perhaps.

Does it make it any less true? I don't think so.

Not to get super generic or Hallmark here but what if we reversed that mindset?

Loved people love people.

Is it not easier for you to love others when you feel loved?

Now imagine someone who doesn't feel loved. Are you able to love them? Are you able to love them before they hurt you? Are you able to love them after they hurt you?

Of course none of this is easy, but neither is following Christ.

Paul wrote in Galatians, "I am crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who lives but Christ in me."

How powerful that the man who wrote this passage and the majority of the New Testament was once a radical, religious terrorist who murdered Christians.

Yes you read that right. Paul (Saul at the time) was a devout Jew who arrested and murdered people who had a different religion than him.

Please don't tell me "there's no hope." Don't tell me "these people are brainwashed." Don't tell me that "they only respond to strength." Don't tell me, "We live in a different day and age than back then."

What was Jesus first primary teaching? 
The Sermon on the Mount
“Blessed are
those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account."

You don't answer to me. You answer to the One who you claim to follow. You answer to the one commanding you to love your enemies.

From the moment Jesus stepped into His ministry to the moment of His death and beyond he taught forgiveness and love.

But He also taught us to renew our minds and that our lives are not our own.

My wife and I have been watching The West Wing and there's this brilliant scene in season one where the President's cabinet is arguing and fighting with each other and trying to decide what to do and who is right. By the end of the episode they realize that it's not about what they want, but about what the President wants. One by one they say, "I serve at the pleasure of the President."

As a follower of Christ I must remind myself that, "I serve at the pleasure of Jesus." 

It's not my will be done but His. 

Let us not forget what Jesus told the people on how to become a follower of Him, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Matt. 16.24)

It's easier to pick up your cross when you lay down your sword.

This is not about Orlando. It's about all of it.

-

Post Script:
“We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.”

March Madness & Closing In On 30: Part 1

What a crazy month March has been. It's been just over two months since we packed up our lives and started anew in Florida. A major highlight of March was almost two weeks ago when some of my best friends came down from Nashville to simply hang out.

Yes we went to some Braves spring training games...

From Left to Right: My Pastor & Friend Brian from the Anchor Fellowship, ME, My Neighbor and strangely connected "Brother-Bear" Sean, and my sports-ball bestie anDREW.

From Left to Right: My Pastor & Friend Brian from the Anchor Fellowship, ME, My Neighbor and strangely connected "Brother-Bear" Sean, and my sports-ball bestie anDREW.

Yes we went canoeing...

Yes we ate really good sea food...

And yes we frolicked on the beach:

But the best part of the entire trip were the times of conversation. Sometimes deep and meaningful. And sometimes immature and childish. But nonetheless, all of it was valid.

I think it also hit me that these men and people that mean so much to me are no longer a part of my life the way they once were. Yes they come to town for a few days and we reconnect and spend quality time together, but I no longer get to see my Pastor's face greeting me every Sunday in that old Civil War hospital in downtown Nashville. No more do I get to explore the best food and coffee in Music City with my Brother-Bear. Never again will I be able to rush home from work and meet the guys at Sevier Park for some pickup basketball or wake up early on Saturday morning and shank some golf balls at the city course. There are countless other things that I won't be able to do anymore and dozens of other friends that I didn't get to hang out with down here that I miss dearly as well. Those days are over.

Often in interviews a question will surface like, "Does your life read like a memoir or a novel with chapters?"

My story is much more of a novel with chapters. There has been significant crossroads in my life that has divided up the chapters for me. After high school my life has been cut up into pretty even chunks of five years. 

18-23: Wandering, Renewal, Achievement, Marriage

24-29: Life & Location Change, Growth, Adaptation, Comfort

And in a few short weeks 30...

I'm not scared of 30. I'm also not not scared of 30.

Does life seem to be going quicker these days? Yes.
Are there things that I want to accomplish in my life that I haven't yet? Yes.
Are there areas of failure and regret that I sometimes dwell on? Sure.

But there are a few things that I have never second-guessed, and one of those things is moving to Florida. 

It has now been over a year that I journaled my thoughts on a message I heard at The Anchor. Those thoughts turned into a blog. That blog turned into a podcast. And all of those things kind of sparked this idea to start Of Monks & Men (please be patient as we continue to develop this project in the coming weeks). But that first writing that I had was called, Without Borders. Go give it a read or a listen & come back and finish this blog.

My faith is in God, but is my trust?

That's what God has been speaking to me for the last year. I believe Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again. But I came to a point where I wasn't sure if I trusted him with my job, my marriage, and my life.

So when the offer came through and we labored and talked and prayed about what we should do I felt peace. My wife felt peace. We trusted each other and we trusted God that this was the right move for us. I had people in Nashville say, "Really? Daytona?" or "Are you sure about this?" And, "You'll be back. Florida is miserable." Honestly, I had all of those thoughts before we left. But I haven't thought twice about our move since we've been here. 

We are here. For how long? Who knows? But my anxiety has changed to excitement. My fear has changed to tenacity. My doubts have been changed to trust. I have vision. I am seeing clear. I am seeking Him.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Intimacy: Let's Get Biblical, Part II

Last time I blogged I wrote about how the word intimate plays out in the Old Testament and it often portrays a picture of resting upon another as you would a pillow. Intimacy expressed is where we find ourselves able to relinquish our walls, barriers, and guards and let ourselves relax in the embrace of another. I mentioned there was a picture of intimacy in the New Testament which came to mind and reveals the idea with perfect clarity. Before I get to that passage of Scripture, I want to do justice to a few other mentions of intimacy/intimate in the New Testament to be sure to cover the scope of the word. Note: There was no translations that are typically used that contained the words intimacy. These are the outliers.

Acts 10.24 in the Darby Translation highlights the use of “intimate” as it relates to a modifier of friendship. “And on the morrow they came to Caesarea. But Cornelius was looking for them, having called together his kinsmen and [his] intimate friends.” Although friends are a powerful picture of close relationship, the author goes a step further to indicate these friends were more than just buds, they were “close, intimate, necessary, or essential friends.” The word in the Greek is anagkaios, which has some connections to those who are bent or have an uplifted arm to meet a pressing need. It also carries the idea of being an outward influence or exerting pressure upon another (sometimes negative, sometimes positive). I think it is safe to say "intimate" in this verse captures the idea of having friendship where one cannot do without the other. In some ways, we can recognize this kind of intimacy as being core to being human, and furthermore core to being good friends. We all have those friends who we think - man, I didn’t know how much I needed them until I knew them. This is an intimate friend. Side note - the Latin word used for this kind of friend is necessarios, meaning "a necessary one" or "one who is bound or tied to another." I think few of us realize how much we need friendship, need intimacy, need one another.

Another use of intimate comes up in the Weymouth Translation of Ephesians 1:1, “For I always beseech the God of our Lord Jesus Christ--the Father most glorious--to give you a spirit of wisdom and penetration through an intimate knowledge of Him…” The word here in Greek for “intimate knowledge” is epignosis, meaning literally, “on, fitting," combined with “knowledge gained through first-hand relationship” or more simply said “contact-knowledge” or “experiential knowledge.” This word knowledge definitely has come up numerous times in my conversation of intimacy. Pastors, leaders, friends, and many commentators stress the importance of knowledge when understanding intimacy. But - this is no normal knowledge. This is a full disclosure, an absolutely true knowing, that happens from close contact with another. This kind of intimate knowledge is not merely intellectual but is inherently spiritual. The passage also intimates, pun intended, that Jesus is the way we come to intimacy with God the Father. This "knowing" is about seeing the revealed Jesus, and in this revelation recognizing and receiving with full embrace who God really is. In other words, intimacy in the New Testament is a friendship, a revelation, a need for another, and a revealed other all simultaneously.

I think we are now poised to engage one more passage of Scripture which I previously mentioned. As a reminder, we have talked about intimacy meaning disclosure and embrace, it having a deep sense of resting or laying back on another like a pillow, and lastly as a relationship that is necessary, revealing, and experiential. The story that I think embodies many of these aspects is from John 13.25, where we see John, “leaning back against Jesus,” to ask a question about who the betrayer was. In this moment of reclining as they ate, which was the normal custom, John leans back to gain closer contact with Jesus. "Leaning" always reveals a change of posture in the Greek and many times is used to describe a rower leaning back before pulling back the oar. This was a definitive act of intimacy. It expresses an abandon and a freedom that is not often connected to the ideas of intimacy. See intimacy tends to be so privatized that is can be misunderstood for exclusionary. However, this picture in John 13 seems to indicate you will be able to see the freedom in intimate relationship. People will know how close you really are. Another thought about intimacy from this passage of Scripture is John re-positions himself to ask a question. I wonder if many times our intimacy should be found from the place of asking hard questions and with an ear to listen. The last unique thing I recognized about this passage is the content of the conversation is driven by loyalty. John wants to know if he is in right relationship or if he could be faulted with the betrayal. I wonder if many of our intimate conversations should look less about just getting closer and look more like freeing moments where we can find ourselves inquiring about loyalties. Caveat: I will confess that although I have used John 13:25 to describe a New Testament picture of intimacy, there aren’t any actual uses of the word in the passage. However, it appears to me to be too similar to what we found in the Old Testament understanding to neglect it.

My posture today is to ask the question of Jesus in the spirit of disclosure, “Am I loyal to you?” And wait to let him embrace my leaning and for him to say, “You are loyal enough.” There’s not a more beautiful picture of intimacy I can think of at present. And I think I am going to embrace more freedom, more inquiry, and more loyalty in my relationships.

The next blog will be about what I am learning from Henri Nouwen’s book, Intimacy, and how it contributes to the conversation on intimacy.

Journaling Lent: Day 40: Palm Sunday

For the last 40 days I have been reading a devotional called, He Reads Truth: Lent.

These readings have challenged me to think, read, and pray with fresh perspective.

I come away 40 days later not any more "holy" or "perfect," but nevertheless still changed. I perceive my salvation in Christ as a day to day journey. I am constantly trying to walk in Him even as I simultaneously stumble in my worldliness.

I am still searching. Not for answers. Not for a formula. But for Him. I am looking for Him in all things. In all people. In all situations. And sometime (most of the time) that is really challenging.

My biggest takeaway from the last 40 days isn't an earth-shattering discovery or a rediscovered and new "me."

My big takeaway is that I am in need, constantly. Every hour I truly need Him. Hear me, I'm not saying every hour I am seeking Him. I'm saying that I recognize that I need Him. 

I am selfish. We all are. We need Him. But it's not good enough for me to recognize I need Him. I also recognize that my need requires action. 

Other people need Him. They need to be shown the way. They need to be shown His love.

I've abused God's grace. I've abused Christ's love. Who am I to limit my love and grace to others when Jesus constantly shows me love and grace.

I still need His love and grace every single day.

Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Matthew 6.33

I often seek God, but do I seek Him first?

I'm trying.

HOSANNA - Save, We Pray.

Journaling Lent: Day 39, Rest

There are many reasons why Jesus came to the Earth.

However, all reasons and thoughts about His purpose can be boiled down to one thing.

Unity through love.

In order to reconcile sinners with God, there had to be one to unify each party.

We don't need a priest, for Christ is our priest.

We don't need a sacrifice, for Jesus is our sacrifice.

We don't need suffer, because He suffered.

Jesus prays for us.

"I pray for those who believe in Me...May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent me." John 17

We are made one with the Father because of Christ. As believers we are united together with each other and with God.

Journaling Lent: Day 38, The Centrality of Christ

All things are made living through Him.

There is no way around it. There can be many discussions and debates on the origin of our universe, but there is no debate that it is all made possible through God alone.

All fullness is through Him.

All life is through Him.

He reconciles all things to Himself.

I am made whole through Him.

If I am not in Him then I am not whole.

Journaling Lent: Day 37, The True Vine

In John 15 Jesus says, "I am the true vine & My Father is the vineyard keeper. Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes...Remain in Me and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me."

Abide in Him. Such a simple concept. Remain in His love. 

We are to abide in Him and remain in His love. 

If God is love, then we are called to abide in love.

It's hard to hate when we are abiding in love.

It's difficult to kill when we are abiding in love.

It's impossible to live as Christ without abiding in love.

Remain in Him and He will remain in You.

 

Journaling Lent: Day 36, The Way, Truth & The Life

Jesus said, "I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another."

John 13:31

This is not a recommendation nor a request. It is a command. 

If we get to a point where we are measuring how much we distribute love and care for others, then we are missing the point. Jesus said many things during His earthly life, but few times does he make such a bold declaration that cannot be misinterpreted. 

Love one another.

There are zero qualifiers or disclaimers. We are to simply love others as He loves us.

He is the way, truth, and the life. If we love others, then we show them the way, truth, and the life.

Journaling Lent: Day 35, The Resurrection and the Life

Jesus is.

Something I've tried to stop doing in my life is referring to Jesus in the past tense. 

If I say that I believe that He rose from the dead that means He is alive. He is present. He is with us. Emmanuel.

I think of the bridge to a worship song that was popular a few years ago,

I don't want to talk about You like you're not in the room. I want to look right at You. I want to sing right to You.

Have you ever been in a hallway and listened in on a conversation of two people talking about you in another room? Now imagine being in the room with them, but they're still referring to you as if you weren't there? 

"Nic is a really good guy. I like how Nic seems to try his best and go out of his way to talk to me. Nic seems really genuine and caring."

or

"Nic is such a jerk. I don't understand why he operates the way he does. I wish he were more confrontational."

Positive or negative makes no difference - it's weird.

Let's apply that to our speech with talk about Jesus. He is alive. He is present. He is with us.

Jesus you are good. Jesus you are alive. Jesus you are present. Jesus you are with us.

Not, "Jesus was." Rather, "Jesus is."

Journaling Lent: Day 34, The Good Shepherd

John 10.11-18 Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." 

The God of sacrifice.

I often think of stories in the Old Testament with Israel making sacrifices to God for covenant, sin, and worship. In the beginning, Cain and Abel made sacrificial offerings to God. After the flood Noah made animal sacrifices to God. Abraham was called to "sacrifice" his only son to God. 

There are things in my life that I am called to surrender or sacrifice, but is He the God who requires sacrifice? 

Or, is He the God who sacrifices? 

When Christ appears before John the Baptist, John says, "Behold the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world." In the scripture that this post started with in John 10 it says, "The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." In real life, would a shepherd actually do this? If there is a flock of 50 sheep, and one sheep is getting attacked by a wild animal wouldn't the shepherd sacrifice that one sheep to escape with the remaining sheep? Perhaps. But Christ is saying that the Good Shepherd would actually die for the sheep.

"I have come to serve not to be served."

Then the most glaring example of all is Christ Himself dying on the cross for the sins of all. 

We often think of our lives as "living sacrifices" to God - which to an extent is true. But it seems to me that He actually sacrifices for us in order for us to be with Him.

He is not the God of sacrifice, but the God who sacrifices. Why?

Love.

Journaling Lent: Day 31, The Door of the Sheep

Today's reflection is from, He Reads Truth: Lent 2016.

In John 10.4 & 7 Jesus says, "The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice," and "I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn't listen to them."

This reminds me so much of my two dogs, Mr. Bojangles (Bo) & Foxy.

We adopted Bo from a shelter when he was about 5 months old. Foxy we rescued from a construction lot in Nashville. Her owners moved away and left her behind. She lived on the street about 2 weeks before we took her in.

Bo is independent. He is headstrong and stubborn. Foxy is a little 9 pound snuggle bug. She looks exactly like a lamb or llama. She will sit in your lap FOREVER and lick your hand until you pet her. If Bo and Foxy are playing outside and I call for them to come in, then usually Foxy comes sprinting in the house, jumps up on my leg, and spins in circles. Bo on the other head is out sniffing, digging, looking for squirrels, or just exploring (We should have named him Christopher Columbus). Sometimes he doesn't come in because he's too distracted by a potential rodent. Sometimes he comes walking back in begrudgingly. And sometimes he comes sprinting in excited.

Bo and Foxy know my voice. They know when I'm upset with them. They know when I'm super excited and want to play with them, or when I want to cuddle with them. 

Christ told the people that "the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice." Do I recognize the voice of God when he's speaking? Am I off in my own world exploring or distracted by the daily minutia? Am I excited when I hear His voice? Do I get upset with God when I don't feel like He's communicating with me or if He's not responding the way I want him to..?

My dogs more than just about anything love walks. If we get their leashes or say the word, "Walk" in a high-pitched voice, they lose their mind! I love taking my dogs on walks because they love it. It makes them happy. But I don't walk them 24 hours a day. They need rest. They need food. They need to stay inside the house while we're gone at work. They need limits. Those limits make their walks that much more enjoyable for them.

The Father loves "giving us walks." He knows what we love. He knows what's important to us. But more importantly, He knows what we need more than we do. It's up to us to trust Him and hear His voice.

Journaling Lent: Day 29, The Light of the World

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life." John 8.12

Our planet gets its light source through a star which we call, "The Sun." It's in the center of our solar system. Our Sun is considered to be a smaller to normal size star compared to other stars within our galaxy and throughout smaller space. Some perspective; our Sun is bigger than all 8 of the planets in our solar system (and Pluto) put together, yet our great star is one of the last ones to get picked in gym class.

Here's a comparison of our Sun to some of the other stars just in the Milky Way:

VY Canis Majoris is one of the biggest stars known in the Milky Way. It is about 1,500 times the size of the biggest object that we can see from our planet, the Sun. I think you get the idea.

Why am I talking about the different sizes of stars in our galaxy? 

Because our planet, the Sun, those stars are created by God the father of lights. Jesus is the light of the world. As massive as space is and the darkness that follows it - anytime we see light that means there is hope. That means cutting through all of that darkness if there is a flicker of light then there's a way out. 

Christ passed on the light to us. This is a world full of heaviness and darkness. It needs energy, warmth, and light. If God is creative enough to design all of those stars and stick our small planet in orbit around a small star that gives us light and warmth, then I don't think it's too much a stretch for Him to put us in the middle of a darkened world that needs to be shown a glimmer of hope and light.

 

Journaling Lent: Day 28, The Bread of Life

In Luke 22.14-20 Jesus presents the disciples with the "first" Lord's Supper. He took the bread and broke it and said, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me." He then took the cup of wine and said, "This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you."

Take. Do. Remember.

That should be our focus when not only taking the eucharist but when sharing our lives with others. Take. Do. Remember.

He offers Himself for us. Do we receive?

He gives us a call to action. Do we partake?

He instructs us to remember. Do we remember?
 

It's more than taking bread and wine every week. It's more than reciting a prayer or creed.

It's taking, doing, and remembering.

Remember what He has done and what He is doing. It is sacred. It is holy. Make it a part of your day, every day.

When the Israelites were in the wilderness God provided Manna for them everyday. If they took too much to try to store up for the next day, then it went bad. We are to be fed by God everyday. Go to Him everyday. Receive from Him everyday.

Remember what He said and does everyday.

He is the bread of life and only He can sustain us.

Journaling Lent: Day 26, Remember

“I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8.12

This verse is not only a verse of salvation, but a word of encouragement and challenge for the Believer. There are times, as a Christian, when I walk in darkness. Sometimes it could be a day or a week...And sometimes it could be a minute or an hour.

Depression, anxiety, fear, doubt. These are some things that I have dealt with in my life since becoming a Believer in Christ. Does my struggle with those things negate my salvation? Of course not. Does my struggle with those things mean I am walking in darkness? Maybe not, but it does mean that darkness has a way of creeping into my life. It has a way of being present in my life even though I believe that, "He is able."

It means every day I must choose to: "Walk in the Light," "Work out my salvation," "Run the race." These choices aren't merely one-time bouts. When you follow Christ you do it every day. 

Choose Him because He is the Light, and He is the only One who makes the darkness flee.