God’s Grace, not Greed!

I work one in one of the top five deadliest jobs in America, I was reminded of that just this month when I badly injured my left hand while at work.  I was lucky that I didn’t break my finger and only had to have it stitched up.  Being a garbage collector is a thankless job and a deadly one.  In addition to working with big machines that crush anything (and anyone) that gets in the way, there are the risks posed by hazardous materials and heavy traffic.  In June of 2000 a 30 year-old male sanitation assistant (the victim) was crushed by the hydraulically powered tailgate of a garbage truck while unloading garbage at a county landfill.   The County Sheriff, and ambulance personnel arrived at the scene within minutes but the county medical examiner pronounced the man dead at the scene.  A discarded fishing pole was found inside the garbage compartment of the truck, and it is possible that the victim was trying to retrieve this item immediately prior to getting caught.

Could it possibly be that we simply can’t believe
That this unconditional kind of love would be enough
To take a filthy wretch like this and wrap him up in righteousness?

Greed is defined as an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves.  We think we never have enough in life and want more and more.  More time, more money, more to eat, more love!  We can’t stop and we are always looking of more ways to make us look and feel good.  But the truth is, we are not good.  We deal with Body Image, Reckless living, Selfishness, Cancer, Doubts about life, Fears, Diabetes, Working too much, Failing health and past issues in our life.

No matter the hurt or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain, still the truth is
The cross has made, the cross has made you flawless

I was very lucky (if you want to call it luck) that I didn’t lose my finger.  The wound was very deep and the pain, oh the pain!  Three weeks later and my finger feels a lot better, but it still hurts sometimes. Even though the wound has healed up, there will be a scar to remind me that I’m not flawless! And just like the song Flawless by MercyMe, I just need to take a breath, smile and say.  Right here, right now that I’m OK; because the cross was enough.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”. ~ Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

Their is more to life than what you own, what you drive or how you look. In the end, it’s not what you do that matters the most.  Don’t think getting just one more thing will make you better, Greed is deadly to the soul and will catch you to you before you know it.  The Cross has made you flawless no matter what issues you are facing in life.  It’s never too late to be introduce to grace, God’s grace.   Grace can wipe away to stains of your past and leave you flawless in God’s eyes!

Some of us have been bruised by abuse. Broken by disappointment. Weighed down by depression. We don’t think we’re worthy of God’s Grace, worth being flawless. But the Lord says of His people, “You are precious and honored in my sight” (Isaiah 43:4).

There is more to life, you are flawless in Christ.

You are loved!

This past week we had a young lady take her own life by jumping off a bridge in Iowa City onto Interstate 80 on Tuesday morning, where she was hit by a semitrailer and killed. I know what it’s like to feel so overwhelmed that you just can’t see any hope for living. Yes, I have been to that point in my life where I wanted to end it all. I felt so alone, no hope for tomorrow but that was before I found the love of Jesus Christ and my local church. I didn’t know this young beautiful lady at all but her death touched me in a way that I can’t express! That night, I just keep saying, “she didn’t have to do this” and how sad I was for her family, friends, the driver of the semi and the first responder and Law enforcement officers.

As I was on my way to church this morning, I felt God calling me to step up and talk to our congregation about what I was feeling. When we are feeling depressed, sad or what ever, we can’t go it alone and covering it up doesn’t help. I you think the person you care for knows how much you care for them, don’t just think they know! Tell them, show them ever day how much you love them no matter how bad they feel. If your dealing with depression and can talk about it, DO IT! Let’s not hide it any more, show others who are facing the same thing that they too are not alone and can come to you if they want too. Life is so wonderful, and Jesus died on the cross to give us new life and no matter what you have done or what your going through, his family of believers love you and you can trust them.

I know this is my calling to help others dealing with depression and showing them the love that Jesus Christ offers us. I am so thankful that the good Lord gave me new life and new hope so I can try to touch life’s that are hurting. Just hearing people thanks me for sharing my thoughts and experiences is nice, I hope they can take from it that it’s OK to let people see who they really are, and that’s a child of God who loves us so much that He sent his only son to die for us.

Your not alone and if you think that ending your life is all you have left, please don’t! Let me know, I will do every thing I can for you. You are loved more than you know and better days are ahead.

God bless.

Open Up to Others

Social networking is big business. Things like Facebook, e-mail, and texting reveal our hunger to connect with one another, yet many people still feel lonely. The fall of Adam and Eve usually brings to mind the disconnection that sin created between God and mankind, but it also affected all human relationships from that time onward. As a result, fear and pride threaten to keep us in bondage to isolation and self-protection.

Surprisingly, many homes, workplaces, and churches are gatherings of strangers. Even husbands and wives can live in the same house without really knowing each other. Being able to list many facts about those we live and work with is not the same as really knowing them. To some degree, whether we are known by others is our responsibility. Even the friendliest person may not be able to penetrate someone else’s self-erected walls. To be known, we must risk opening up and letting others in.

Paul pled with the Corinthians to open up to him as he had to them. Because they’d built emotional walls, their relation-ship with him and their effectiveness as a church were hindered. Of all people, believers are called to live in open honesty and accountability with one another. We cannot shut everybody out and expect to have an open relationship with God.

Relational walls can be hard to recognize. Unforgiveness, a sense of unworthiness, and fear of rejection are common reasons for self-protective barriers. Ask God to reveal any ways that you’re shutting someone out. He will help you demolish all hindrances to your relationship with Him and others.

Circle of Support and Accountability

This afternoon, I had the chance to attend a Circle of Support and Accountability meeting at our church.  I am new to this group, but what I know so far it is for people who are recently released from prison.  As you may know, I was arrested and charged with 1St degree theft and was sentenced to 3 years of parole.  Tonight we got to meet a your woman who is facing prison time due to drugs.  I can’t tell you here real name right now but from what I learned from her tonight.  She is a very smart, caring and loving person who has made some mistakes in her life.  From this first meeting tonight, I get a good feeling that she can make the changes to her life and with some help make her life better.  We all make mistakes, but some of us just make bigger ones.

When people do things that are wrong and even things that may hurt us, we take it very personalty.   Most of us have a very hard time forgiving others when we think we have been hurt.  We are quick to act and even judge them, and think we know all there is to know about why the other person did what they did.   We are only thinking about our feelings and our needs and how they took some thing from us.  We never think what real story is and just maybe there is so much more to what we really know.  To act in love for people we don’t even know and not judge them is all God asks of us.  Too many times we are quick to judge others and think we have the right to treat them badly just because they deserve it for doing us wrong.  To love some one who may not deserve to be loved is called agape love.

Agape is love which is of and from God, whose very nature is love itself. The Apostle John affirms this in 1 John 4:8: “God is love.” God does not merely love; He is love itself. Everything God does flows from His love. But it is important to remember that God’s love is not a sappy, sentimental love such as we often hear portrayed. God loves because that is His nature and the expression of His being. He loves the unlovable and the unlovely (us!), not because we deserve to be loved, but because it is His nature to do so, and He must be true to His nature and character. God’s love is displayed most clearly at the Cross, where Christ died for the unworthy creatures who were “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), not because we did anything to deserve it, “but God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). The object of agape love never does anything to merit His love. We are the undeserving recipients upon whom He lavishes that love. His love was demonstrated when He sent His Son into the world to “seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10), and to provide eternal life to those He sought and saved. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for those He loves.

In the same way, we are to love others sacrificially. Jesus gave the parable of the Good Samaritan as an example of sacrifice for the sake of others, even for those who may care nothing at all for us, or even hate us, as the Jews did the Samaritans. Sacrificial love is not based on a feeling, but a determined act of the will, a joyful resolve to put the welfare of others above our own. But this type of love does not come naturally to humans. Because of our fallen nature, we are incapable of producing such a love. If we are to love as God loves, that love—that agape—can only come from its true Source. This is the love which “has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us” when we became His children (Romans 5:5). Because that love is now in our hearts, we can obey Jesus who said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another” (John 13:34). This new commandment involves loving one another as He loved us sacrificially, even to the point of death. But again, it is clear that only God can generate within us the kind of self-sacrificing love which is the proof that we are His children. “By this we have known the love of God, because He laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16). Because of God’s love toward us, we are now able to love one another.

Life goes on 2/20/2010

I told my fiancee that I would start blogging more about what I am feeling and my life.  I am so in love with Julie, I just love how she can express herself even in times of difficulties.  I believe that talking about our problems and not keeping them to ourselves does help.  I love to talk/write about what is going on in my life but find it hard to find a place to start.  Plus, in the past I have not had anyone who took a interest in how I was feeling.  “Just get over it” does not help a person feel better when they are depressed.

So, how am I feeling you ask?  Oh, so, so.  I haven’t done a thing to day and feel kind of down.   I miss being with Julie and feel “safe” when I am with her.  I don’t mind being alone but when I am and get depressed, I tend to just shut down and kind of hibernate.  I am good at keeping my feelings to myself but not because I want to.   I once cared what others were thinking about me but not any more.  I know I am a good person and I have many friends who care about me.  I have made so many friends in the last year and changed my life for the better, I know they see the real me.  I am no longer fake and know it’s not about me any more.  I want the best for others and want them to know about the love and grace the Jesus gives me!  It have mad a BIG change in how I see things and how I think.  I once hated life so much that every day I would wish to die!  Now I am afraid that I will die before my work here on Earth is done.

My health is….  well, it could be better.  I have Crohn’s disease and am having some problems with it.  It’s hard for me to talk about because it’s kind of personal.  I had to go to the ER Monday night and found out that I had a infected abscess on my butt and they operated on it that night to drain it. It’s kind of painful to sit and were not sure why it happened. I have to go back in next week for procedure to find out why or what happened and what to do next.  I am so used to pain but this pain is really getting to me.  I am very scared, I can’t afford to miss any work.  I know it’s not getting any better and the only way to get rid of the pain to get get it fixed.  That means mostly a operation and some time in the hospital but if that’s what it takes, I will deal with missing work.  I just want every thing better and not to be so hard.

To morrow is Sunday and church!  My church is my family now and I love them so much!  Right now, I just don’t care nothing is making me happy (other than thinking about Julie!).  It will be ok, just how I am some times.  I want to sleep but yet am thinking about all the “if’s” in my life.  I think I will take my pain killer pills now, that will help me. LOL Right.  I could go on talking about nothing.  Who reads this any way, other than Julie and a few good friends.  To them, I say; Thanks and you are loved more that you know.  May God bless you and keep you.