Treasure

When will my head stop ringing,

The whispers stop stinging?

Painful onslaught of self-doubt;

Is my net-worth in my network?

Is my value in my values?

Chase the dollars, make the money;

You’ll find happiness again when it’s sunny.

Winters cold breath extinguished the fire;

Maybe it was Satan again being a liar?

Either way – I’m dormant;

What’s my purpose and my mission?

Somewhere in the chaos I lost my vision.

This heart is still itching;

Pen ready, heart heavy.

I’ve gotta run from it or through it,

More effort or I’m gonna lose it.

And yet that doesn’t seem like the answer,

Isn’t “trying to be better” how we got here?

Never satisfied with being, always becoming.

Yet Jesus always walked, and my minds always running.

Lord, meet me in this quiet place.

Still the waters, show your face.

I find comfort in Psalms;

In David’s up-down rhythm.

I’m not alone and you’re still on the throne.

Hear my cries and heal my mind,

Open my eyes where I’m blind.

This day I give to you, my King.

I may not feel like it, but I’ll still sing.

Great is your faithfulness,

Your love endures forever!

I’ll hold onto you, my anchor, my treasure.

Alive Again, Flame.

I’ve struggled with doubt in my faith-relationship with Jesus for the last couple years if we’re being honest. There has been too much heart-ache, too many struggles, and a lot of slumps that I just wasn’t capable of pulling myself out of.

It’s weird though, because it was “safer” for me to do everything I could to fight for “normalcy” in my thought-life. Yet I found myself laying awake at night, scared of God. Sure – a righteous man fears the Lord. But my fear was that I wasn’t living righteously and that I’d be found guilty. I wasn’t living as a new creation; I didn’t believe in God’s ability to heal my heart and change my life.

Eventually, that crept its way into my relationship. I was found guilty and wanted. And yet somehow God’s love came rushing my way and around every corner I began to see His healing power and hand at work. Calling me back into His loving embrace, despite myself.

Step by step, day by day, week by week – God left little breadcrumbs that trailed back to His Kingdom, calling my heart to awaken and develop an affection for His Word and for His people again. I found my heart aching for others and my spirit suddenly “aware” of other’s hurts. My prophetic heart being beckoned back to life almost overnight. The Holy Spirit by my side whispering words of wisdom and conviction as necessary.

Daily encounters of the miraculous in the simplest of things. Running into a friend from the church I grew up in and getting plugged into a group of guys at my parent’s church that hold each other accountable to living above reproach. “Ironically” encountering a message on love at a church Allie and I have been going to that left us both convicted, encouraged, and ready to walk in God’s grace within our relationship, professional lives, and as individuals with our friends and family.

Moments of healing and joy within both of our hearts that could only have occurred if God were behind it. As if His protection was with us. Early success in a new career and in an industry I have no prior experience in, as if God wanted to remind me that He would provide even when I lacked technical knowledge – my God-ordained personality and “Flame”-infused charisma would take up the slack and provide an overall great experience that left customers surprised, in a very good way.

Areas of my heart that had felt dormant and bleak were now flooded with powerful emotions. Desire for redemption. A heart that burned with passion. An inability to resist joy and its contagious affect on anyone I encounter.

But it’s also brought on a lot of pain. We live in a dark world and we all make crazy, stupid mistakes. The world acts surprised when even the most righteous fall. As if they’re no longer capable of good and should be thrown into the waste-basket with the rest of the sinners of this world. If God looked at us this way, we’d all be groveling in the dump, awaiting our descent into Hell.

But Grace is bigger than that. And love has a way of breaking all the rules we set for it. And those whose hearts have been touched by the Living God know a love that goes far deeper than the sitcoms today that simply focus on eros (love focused on sexual passion) and philautia (love of oneself/self-acceptance) and ludus (a playful, flirtatious form of love). We know Agape love. The kind of Love that God has for us, DESPITE. Despite all our transgressions and as many times we’ve run from Him, God is still in pursuit of our hearts, still seeking us out, still willing to send His Son to the Cross on our behalf. Simply so He can stay in relationship with us.

When that kind of love – Agape Love – infiltrates our relationships, the world has a hard time understanding us. We’re aliens to them – foreigners – because we’re not abiding by the guidelines and regulations everyone else would have us live by. Someone hurts us and instead of retreating, we press in and fight harder for them. Someone grows cold and distant and instead of running to another source of warmth, we sit in the cold and pray that God sends His Spirit to amend the relationship. Someone walks through the desert of uncertainty and depression and the other refuses to let their love and joy run out for you.

A kind of love that expects nothing in return. One that floods despite drought. A miraculous kind of love.

I’ve been touched by that kind of love over the last couple weeks, reminded that God isn’t going anywhere, and it’s totally changing my life. I don’t have to perform anymore. I can just be. When I fall, I can get back up. He isn’t going to leave me behind.

I can struggle and have frank conversations with brothers and sisters in Christ and they can understand. Strangely enough, my vulnerability in my times of weakness only encourages them to be realer with me and its forging deeper relationships. The deep-seated heart-desire of everyone in this world that is tired of fickle friendships focused on chasing the moment and enjoying the good times, but that totally lack depth. There are people in our lives that leave us exhausted and discouraged and there are ones that breathe life and strength into us – these friends typically know Jesus. The main thing that sets them apart is their desire to help you fight your demons while allowing you to help them fight theirs as well.

This week, I’m praying for the relationships of my readers. That in your lives you’d be challenged to be real with those you love. And that the love God has for you would end up rocking your world in unexpected ways. It could potentially derail what you originally thought “the plan” was, but it’ll set your life on a much better, brighter, Love-ordained course.

Alive Again,

Flame.

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I Won’t Give Up

I’m in a rough spot. Basically starting over. If you want to learn more about my present situation then definitely feel free to give me a call or send me a message.

It’s been incredibly tempting to throw in the towel and run off. Amazing how when the going gets tough, our first reaction is to run – whether that to be to entertainment, alcohol, drugs, sex, or any other form of counterfeit affection – anything that will make us feel loved. I’m happy to say that I haven’t given up – that I haven’t run.

Instead, I’ve pressed in harder. I’ve gained weight and lost sleep. I’ve laid awake stressed at night, eaten a little too much sweet and salty, but I haven’t given up. I haven’t stopped working. I haven’t gotten lazy. I haven’t thrown in the towel. I’ve stayed strong. Stayed the course. Continued to find a way to see the blessings the Lord gives me each day.

I’m a blessed man with an incredible network. You wouldn’t believe the amount of potential opportunities and doors that have suddenly swung open in the aftermath of a couple doors shutting in my face (honestly, by God’s grace). It would have been easy to pack my bags and run. It would have been easy to throw in the towel. But I’ve kept working, kept hoping, kept persevering.

I will not give up. I will persevere.

I’ve found someone worth loving. I know a God worth living for. I have friends willing to go out of their way for me. I have a woman that believes I have the potential to be successful in absolutely anything I set my mind to.

Today, I find myself praying for you, the reader. I know that some of you may not be as fortunate as me – to have that sort of safety-net and community. A family that’s willing to bear some of your financial burden, friends that are willing to meet with you and discuss potential opportunities, a church that continues to pray for you even though you’re considering other church communities; people that refuse to let you give up on yourself, because they haven’t given up on you.

I find myself praying that you’ll know Him. That you’ll come to meet the Savior. The Provider of my strength and resilience. Yes – I’ve stressed myself silly and worried myself into sickness. Yes – I’ve slept poorly and eaten terribly. No – I will not be left in the cold. No – I will not completely fail. No – I will not be left empty-handed.

He’s a good, good father. He saw me estranged and beaten and giving up and He ensured I found a way out. He will provide. I pray you know Him. I pray He meets you where you’re at too.

It’s a struggle. To believe in something you cannot see. To feel something you sometimes are too numb to feel. Life is never easy.

The beautiful, eloquent speeches that some are capable of presenting (whether politician or pastor) are not an accurate depiction of life. But Jesus is an accurate depiction of love. And love is real. It overcomes. It forgives. It forgets your misdirections and gives you another chance – again and again – never giving up – always persevering.

You are the captain of your ship and I the captain of mine. The only one responsible for it’s successful passage through the treacherous waters of life, yourself (and the God you do or do not believe in). Only you can sink the ship.

I’m refusing to sink mine.

I’m a fan of words. A fan of pep-talks. I’ve asked for prayer and encouragement, but I’ve decided its necessary to preach to myself. So here it is. I’m believing. I’m achieving. I’m fighting. And I won’t give up.

Right There With You,

Justin Meyer

Stormy Seas

But if only you could see,
This darkness in me.
Where the heavens burn and darkness flees.
Fiery tempest, stormy seas;
Yet despite the wreckage, there I’ll be.
A man who loves, a man who’s free.
Where poetic winds rustle through leaves.
Where passion begins and blind feelings see.
There lies the man, waking up, alive indeed.

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Mind Games

The heart is an astounding entity. It’s difficult to describe love, yet man will never cease to write, read, watch, and pursue its story.

Just as powerful, is the mind. Our internal dialogue holds a greater amount of force over us than we realize.

Over the course of the last couple weeks, I have been quietly taking a step back and analyzing my thought-patterns and heart-state. In Leadership Studies (at Kansas State University), we would refer to this as “getting up on the balcony” – taking a moment to get to a higher vantage point to examine, and consider, what is. You’ll learn a lot about yourself in the process, if you give it a try.

Here’s what I’m learning about myself and mankind’s general thought-process…

We inevitably have trained thought-patterns. If your coworkers are negative, then you are twice as likely to be negative as well, because your brain begins to connect-the-dots and look for things you’re dissatisfied/frustrated with as well. If every time you see a mirror and look into it with the question, “What’s wrong with my appearance today?” then you are bound to walk away unhappy. The problem is perpetuated if you live in America, because mirrors are everywhere. And if every time you see a mirror, you’re going to ridicule yourself, you’re going to be very, very hurt (and the crazy thing is – you’re the one hurting you – no one else, in most cases, has even contributed to the negative-perception).

The mind is malicious sometimes. America’s culture has trained the mind to judge quickly. “She’s hot. She’s not. Ehhhh, maybe if her face wasn’t so square.” Guys make snap-judgments about other guys at the gym, ALL THE TIME, too. “He’s a gym-rat, so all he’ll wanna talk about is protein-shakes and the latest trendy workout.” And my favorite, “Well, at least I’m in better shape than him…”

Here’s the good news – we have the power to redirect our thought-patterns.

I like to go on walks occasionally. It gets me away from the constant hum of the television and the busy chatter of a very full, lively house, so that I can actually take some time to think. Last night, as I walked through my neighborhood, I began to think… My thoughts started off in downcast state – considering my inability to reach goals, varying flaws, uncertainties, etc. It was overwhelming me. Then, I remembered that I had made the decision to redirect my thoughts – to bring out the internal traffic-police and send every thought in a healthier direction.

So I began to pray. I lifted up my concerns and anxieties to the LORD, leaving them there. I’m candid and honest when I pray. There is no point in using big, fancy words, or in trying to appear holy and content, because God already knows me. He’s well-aware of my heart and just wants me to share all of it with Him. So I did. All of it. I laid it all out there – honest, concise, rebellious, and needy – He took me as I was and loved me still.

Something beautiful began to happen as I gave my anxiety to God. I found the strength to find things in life that I appreciated, and suddenly, my heart was overflowing with gratitude and joy. I prayed for, and thanked the LORD, for my deep friendships with guys like Brad, Bryce, Joey, and Jake. I found myself thankful for the strength to fight depression, despite its’ rather persistent grasp on my heart sometimes.

And then the tears came. I cried good, healthy, heart-felt tears. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Lord.” – over and over again. It was beautiful, and suddenly, even if just for a moment, there was peace.

You can fight the mind-games that occur within. You can choose to not climb the mountain of despair and to rather climb the mountain of joy.

As you look for the positive, more positive things inevitably pop up – your mind starts connecting-the-dots in a positive direction. “Wow, I find myself appreciative of coworkers that go out of their way to assist me, today. And PRAISE THE LORD FOR COFFEE. And for friends. And for hugs. And for family. And for that customer that insisted on letting my boss know I’m ‘awesome’. Hey, life’s not so bad…”

The world could use a little more gratitude and a little less cynicism.

It’s a mind-game, really.

Spiritual warfare often occurs within your head – darkness wants you to plunge into the pit of despair, while the Father of Lights waits for you to reach the edge of the ring and tag Him into the fight for you. I’m amazed at how often satan manages to persuade me to box myself. I’m in the metaphorical boxing-ring, taking jab-after-jab – only to realize that my fists are the ones striking my face.

But we can fight back. Better yet, God can fight for us.

We train our bodies to become healthy and fit. We train our diets to keep from becoming sick or too skinny/overweight. It’s time we consider how to train our minds – to be ready for battle. Like the Hunger Games, the Mind Games are a death-match between light and dark – good and evil – man versus himself and his opposition. But we can form an alliance with God. We don’t have to fight alone.

During World War II, no one country would have stood a chance against Germany and the Axis Powers on their own – the Allied Forces won, because they had allies. We need allies, too. It’s okay to bring Jesus in. In fact, it’s basically 100% necessary. And it’s HEALTHY, even a sign of maturity, to bring others into the ring with you.

I believe men can find strength in tears shed – in vulnerable openness with each other, letting the light shine. When that happens, joy floods in and dethrones despair. When you turn on the light in a dark room, does darkness remain?

Let darkness rule no longer. Bright in the Light. Fight.

His Kingdom Come,
Justin

mind games

Awake!

“Do not fear, O children of God. Do not worry, children of Jerusalem. Men and Women of the United States; brothers and sisters of Manhattan, KS, the Kingdom is coming! Rise up, shout, praise, sing, and dance! Victory is coming! King Jesus has won. Away from us, evil one. Your dwelling place is not here! This city has been claimed by the Holy One. In The Light, there is no darkness at all.” (Journal Entry, 8/25/2012)

We have been living far too long as if our lives will amount to nothing. Perhaps I should not speak on behalf of all of you, so allow me to restate that…I, Justin, have been living far too long as is my life will amount to nothing. “Absolute nonsense!” says the LORD. As Paul writes in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ, I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the one who loved me and gave himself for me.” This is my declaration of faith; my ‘salvation-verse’, so to speak. If Christ of Nazareth and His Spirit is truly to dwell within me, then how could my life amount to nothing?!?! That is to say that Christ, Himself, shall amount to nothing…What a radically idiotic statement.

As you may see from my journal entry above, dating back to the beginning of the academic year here at Kansas State, my heart has been heavily burdened with awaiting upon the LORD for the redemption of my city, Manhattan, KS. LORD-willing and dependent upon hard work, diligence, and an incredible amount of GRACE from the Holy Spirit, I will graduate from this great academic institution in a matter of months. To what degree will my class have impacted the 23,000+ hearts/souls on the campus? To what magnitude will they have experienced the deep, compassionate, life-changing love of Jehovah Jireh, LORD of Lords, KING of Kings, Adonai, King Jesus?

I believe the answer to many of the aforementioned, rhetorical-questions lies within another simple, yet difficult, question: How SURRENDERED are each of us (you AND me) to the LORD? Essentially, to what extent have we laid aside our personal ambitions to satisfy our flesh, that we may live by the Spirit, for the Spirit? C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Hell is a place where you always have to do whatever you want to do.” We must come to a greater realization of our depravity and inability to do anything good by satisfying our own sinful desires in order to give up our constant pursuit of counterfeit-affections. A deepening understanding of our sinful hearts leads to a greater dependency upon the LORD and an undeterred gratitude for the beauty of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection!

Now, how can I expect you (the reader) to deeply consider this, without placing my heart on the table, that you may see my own need for total surrender to the LORD. If anyone desires for others to take a step in the right direction, then they should have already taken two steps that way. It is in this spirit that I’d like to share another journal entry…

“LORD, I have neglected Your love and chosen counterfeit forms of love/affection that have robbed me of my ability to fully love, dwell in, and serve You wholeheartedly. Please wash over me in your grace, mercy, and love…Above women, I will serve You. Above money, I will seek You. Above status, I will love You.” (My Journal, August 2012)

“And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.” (1 John 2:28) PERSEVERE.

Trials will come. More likely, trials are already occurring. There will be many efforts made to deter the body of Believers from pursuing the LORD wholeheartedly and keeping them from bringing others into the Kingdom of God. The #1 way for the enemy to oppose The Church is division. We must realize this and make every effort to counter attempts to break us apart. Above all things, it is necessary that we walk in total surrender to the LORD, allowing His Love to wash over any and everything we do. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

If you read, remember, comprehend, or enact ANYTHING from the things I’ve written, allow it to be the next couple sentences….WE MUST WAKE UP! There is constant spiritual warfare taking place all around us. The course of real lives, hearts, and souls are on the line as we interact with and serve alongside people daily. One hurtful word or a single harsh action could be all that it takes for a seed of doubt or bitterness to form inside the heart of any individual (myself included). Members of the Body of Christ, we are called to holiness. The word “holy”, means to be set apart. In the case of pursuing the holiness of God, we are to be set apart for the service of the LORD in every circumstance, seeking to live above reproach by the strength of the Him who sends us.

It’s insane to consider the concept that the Creator of the Universe has enlisted me in His plan for the redemption of the LORD…A friend of mine, Rachael, stated it well earlier this week, “Think about this: God despises sin AND He knows everything…..so how is it I am still alive!? Because of love. Uhmazing.” If there is even a hint of humility within your hearts, this statement should resonate within each of your hearts. Praise Him for the grace and love provided to cover over our many sins and short-comings. Through His provision, it is indeed possible to live a lifestyle that is above reproach.

May the LORD use these words of exhortation to awaken hearts and breathe life into our hearts and souls as we endure the race that is set before us.

The Runner

The sun is booming; June heat in Kansas, along with the humidity, southern winds, and various other factors are sure to enact the sweat glands of even the fittest individual. Heavy-breathing is followed by heavy footsteps as your feet pound against the pavement. Looking around, the greenery is beginning to become not so green anymore, as grass is charred by the intensity of the summer sun, turning it into a yellowish-brown wasteland. As you attempt to breathe, the air is thick, as if swimming through an ocean. However, you are not swimming, but are running. Running fast. Overcome every obstacle through the blood of The Lamb!

Approaching an incline in the road, you do as every other person would and pick up the pace to maintain enough momentum to force your heavy body up the grade. A quarter of the way up the hill, you begin to think, “What am I doing? I could walk…maybe even stop and collapse.” However, the little engine that could comes to life in your mind as you begin to think “I think I can”, “I think I can”, you are now halfway up the monstrous hill. But wait…fatigue is setting in, muscles are cramping, your breaths are becoming shorter. How can one push themselves over the top? How could you possibly summit the hill and come coasting to a comfortable pace down the other side?

I was thinking about life today. Weird, right? I’m 22 years old and “thinking about life” as if I am some sort of old Yoda, ready to assess the current state of the world and breath life into it via truth that has only been gained by the grace of God through the Holy Spirit. God’s Word alludes to the Christian journey as a race that has been marked out for us and we are to run the race with all endurance and perseverance, keeping our minds on the good and noble things of this world as we continually return to the Father for strength, nourishment, counsel, and the ability to overcome any and every obstacle that is used to test our character. Think of the story of Job…a man who was found by God to be one of the most righteous in the land…Satan requests to wreak havoc upon his life, saying that in the end, Job will turn away from God due to his circumstances. We are amazed to see that Job’s character is certainly challenged (perhaps even to the breaking point as his friends come to comfort, challenge, and counsel him), yet he curses the day of his birth and himself rather than cursing God. In the end, he is faithful to God. Would I be that faithful? Would you?

One of the realities of this life is that we will all be put to the test. In fact, it is when we are becoming effective witnesses for the LORD (as was the cause with Job) that Satan will increasingly desire to bring destruction to our lives in such a way that would disable us from running the race and finishing strong. The thing about marathon runners is that there are many who would like to complete the journey…but few that are able to persevere long enough to cross the finish line. My friend, Carlos, recently set out to run a marathon and he did it! He ran across the finish-line and completed the race that was set before him! He said it was such an exciting feeling. You should have seen how the joyous expressions on his face as he attempted to recreate the story before us. How much more exciting would it be to complete the race of life and to have finished it well?!?! Having given every ounce of strength that we had to the LORD, pouring ourselves out like drink-offerings as Paul did; serving others, lifting them up, calling ourselves and others to repentance in the name of Jesus and encouraging them to run the race towards His throne alongside us, we can finish well!

Whether it is a job-search, financial security, education, relationships, health/sickness, etc. we all have our hills to climb. Perhaps you are currently coasting at a comfortable pace and life hasn’t thrown any at you in a while, well, I assure you that there they are to come. Let us prepare our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies for the hills that lie ahead; seeking the LORD daily in prayerful devotion of our entire lives to Him that we may never stray from the path and always have the strength to continue upward, even when the hill/obstacle seems nearly impossible. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Amen? Amen!!!!

Running for Him,
Justin

P.S. In other news, I am currently trying to jog on a fairly regular basis and I am definitely out-of-shape. Feel free to pray for and encourage my journey toward a more disciplined and healthy self so that I may be better equipped to serve the LORD and others with the remainder of my life!