World outside is vicious,
Turmoil – my heart wrenches.
Your hearts are in the trenches,
And ya band-aid it up on Pinterest,
God’s lost your interest,
You’re wishin’ for adventures,
Like a dentist – cleaning dentures.
Whew – new rhyme scheme.
The mundane makes ya scream.
Will-power is bursting at the seams,
Tears flow down like streams,
Once good, but now it seems,
Your worse off than your dreams.
Hope whispers, then it leaves
Your heart poised in dry-heaves.
You’ve reached an intersection,
U-Turn or Hell’s direction?
So here’s my wishlist,
I wish to enlist us.
Go on – clean up your dishes,
Wake up – put on some breeches.
Heaven’s calling, will it reach us?
Join the fight, with Jesus.
Real lives at stake,
For real salvation’s sake.
So come on now, will ya wake?
So here’s my wishlist,
I wish to enlist us.
A kingdom full of wishes.
Can you hear victories chorus?
Do you see Christ on the white horse?
Wipe away the tears,
Spirit’s been alive for years,
Strength now – warrior’s cheer.
Opened eyes – Heaven’s here!
“Our precious Christ can never be made too much of.” (Charles Spurgeon)
Too often I think too little of God. I think to myself, “Well, sure, He is the LORD, He died and rose again. I confess Him with my lips and believe in Him in my heart…But…Can He really come through for me in this situation?” Can He truly, fully redeem my sinful nature? Is it possible to actually attain holiness? Will my mind actually be renewed? And then, I find myself once again deeply considering everything that I lack, whether it be financial resources, abundant character, social stature, Ryan Gosling’s looks, and other silly things. I say, “silly things”, because they are just that, silly. Why do I concern myself with such futile things? They are such distractions from what we should truly be meditating on.
The God of the universe loves me. Give that a minute to sink in. Let me write it again this way…The God of the universe loves [you]. (Incomprehensible, right?)
But why? How could God possibly love you, or me, for that matter? Do we deserve it? Have I earned my salvation, or His love, by attending church, being heavily involved in leadership, writing for the glory of God, teaching the Word of God in a house-church context, and being invested in discipleship relationships? Absolutely not!
My attempts of righteousness could never earn the love of God, nor could they buy me a ticket on Toby Mac’s fabled “J-Train” to Heaven in the final-days. So what good are these actions? Well, they are good in the sense that they are an expression of my love and gratitude for a God who is in the business of Redemption. They are good because they help me pursue my Father, as He has certainly never stopped pursuing my heart, despite my constant forgetfulness of all the good he has already done, is doing, and intends to do, for my benefit, and for the benefit of His Kingdom. In fact, despite my love-affair with sin, He still loves me. Devoted to me (and you), His Bride, He will not take lightly His vows to pursue and make a place for us in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Back to my original question, Why does God love you and I?
Because He is Good. So good. In the context of our earn-it-all culture, I’m not sure it is even possible for us to fully comprehend an unconditional love that breeches all of our set-in-stone expectations for relationships. The way you roll your eyes at Him in prayer, the way you speak poorly of Him and perhaps even deny Him throughout the day among your peers and coworkers, the last time you willfully chose to sin over fleeing to His arms, and all other acts of infidelity and treason against a Sovereign God, paid for on the Cross by His beloved Son, that we may have Life, and that we may be fully loved.
Once again, God is so Good.
Have we lost sight of this simple revelation?
The revelation that God loves us. Truly, He LOVES US! David Crowder Band’s, “How He Loves Us” is a brilliant praise-song on just how much He loves us. “If His love is an ocean, then we’re all sinking.” Consider the vastness of the ocean of His grace. The rains of His mercy are like a torrential downpour, relentlessly washing away our dirt, refreshing our hearts, and the end-result is the bearing of much fruit, raised up by the Life of the Son!
Friends, please join me in taking our eyes off of ourselves. Please walk with me on the narrow-road of praising the LORD in ALL circumstances and holding onto the joy of the Spirit in ANY situation. An exhortation that I have always given the men that I minister to is a simple three-word-phrase, “Eyes On Christ”. If we truly return our eyes to Savior Jesus, the way in which we view the world around us and our own lives will change drastically. We will find ourselves genuinely loving others, enjoying the labor of diligence, and rejoicing in the fruit of planting the seeds of Gospel-centered living in the lives of others. Suddenly, all of the worries about yourself, will have faded away, and been replaced by praise, by gratefulness for all the LORD has already done and will continue to do.
He has not forsaken you. He will not forsake you. He cannot forsake you. It is not in His nature to abandon one of His children. I will leave you with this Facebook post that I shared with my friends on April 9th to consider:
“People often say, ‘I feel distant from God’, well, I promise you He hasn’t gone anywhere.” (Ben Stout) It’s in His nature to relentlessly pursue your heart. He has not given up on you. He has not left you. The question then becomes, Why do you run?
First of all, HAPPY EASTER! Jesus Christ IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! There is no doubt. Jesus Christ of Nazareth was crucified, buried, and rose from the grave three days later. All four Gospel accounts make it evidently clear that Jesus resurrected and came back to speak with His disciples, that they may believe and be empowered by the Holy Spirit in order that they could preach the Good News to the nations. You and I have been granted FREEDOM; the power to break the chains of sin and to walk in the Light! Praise
God! What a joyous day, filled with celebration, bright colors, laughter, family/friend-bonding, and much more.
Today, MILLIONS of people attended Easter Services! Praise God that so many gathered in my Father’s house today and sang praises to His name. Even more exciting is that hundred of thousands decided to accept Christ, rededicate their lives to Christ, and/or be baptized. Excellent! That is SO GREAT. However….the solemn reality is that many of those people still do not KNOW Jesus Christ as their LORD and SAVIOR.
“WHAT?!?!…Justin, are you judging? How could you possibly know the state of their hearts…why would you say such a terrible thing on Easter of all days…”
Before you click out and return to your Facebook, Twitter, festivities, or homework, hear me out! Please give me a chance. If you read John 15 (do it now if you can), you will see that lives that abide in Christ will bear much fruit! In fact, “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” (John 15:6) Jesus IS alluding to Hell.
I’m going to share with you an excerpt from my personal journal that you may better understand my heart overall on this topic. I wrote this on Friday afternoon as I pondered the holiday of Easter and the salvation of my peers:
“A life that has been granted the Holy Spirit by submission to the Lord, our God will have become a slave to righteousness. Many would object to such blatant terminology, however Romans 6 makes it crystal-clear that we are to be freed from sin, “For sin shall not be your master because you are not under law but under grace.” (6:14) Skip ahead a few verses and verse 19 demonstrates the logic behind offering ourselves up for the purposes of righteousness, which is “leading to holiness!”
I’m writing on the approach of Easter, a day that celebrates life renewed! Many will attend a church-service on Sunday, some may rededicate their lives to God, and still others may choose to “accept Christ into their hearts” for the first time. Unfortunately few will allow God to change the course of their lives, leading them right back to the broad path of destruction.” (Justin Meyer)
EXAMINE YOUR HEARTS. Please….please examine your hearts. It is with grave concern, compassionate love, and a deep desire to see your lives radically transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ that you may live in the Light and walk in freedom that I write to you. God does not care what you wore to church today. Nor does He care whether or not you sat in church and heard an emotionally moving message. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22) My God is concerned with the content of your hearts and the way in which you live your life! The old saying, “actions speak louder than words” is appropriate here. ANYONE can say, “Yes, I’m a Christian.” ANYONE can say, “HE IS RISEN” on Easter morning. Few can live obediently.
A trending topic a year or so ago among my social-sphere was love-languages. It is evident that mine is words of affirmation and physical touch (I LOVE HUGS, pats on the back, etc). Throughout my personal relationship with God, I have learned that His love language is OBEDIENCE. I searched BibleGateway.com for “obedience” and found 38 mentions of the word within the Old and New Testaments. The LORD is always calling His Children to obedience. Will you obey? But oh, how unruly we can be! What foolish children; always running back to sin, thinking that this time it will be enough to satisfy! Sometimes even looking to peers to take the place of God! You do realize the individuals you idolize in this world will soon be reduced to dust for they are but flesh and bone. Worship the One that breathes LIFE!
Allow me to humble myself. I am not a pastor. I am not an ordained minister. You have not asked me to counsel you. I understand these things. However, I am your friend and/or family-member and I do believe God has granted me a decent understanding and education of His people, His Word, and His desire for their hearts and lives. And I do believe that if anything will ever satisfy your broken, sad, angry, tired, hearts that it is the love of Jesus Christ.
Are you not tired of fighting against it? Is not His Love the most beautiful, compelling, brilliant, authentic, pure, LOVE that your heart has been desiring? Will you not choose to walk obediently towards His arms. Have you not heard the story of prodigal son; the one who squandered all that had been given him, yet the Father still WELCOMED him home, threw a party in his honor, and relished even more treasure upon him. O how God desires to throw you a party, to rejoice over your radically changed life, to use YOU to change the world!
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Just a minute ago, it hit me that I’m an inn-keeper! Well, technically speaking I’m a Front Desk Agent for a local hotel. But that’s beside the point. It’s Christmas Eve and if I had been employed 2000+ years ago, I might’ve been the inn-keeper that had to turn Joseph & Mary away from the inn due to being sold-out. That’s a crazy thought, right?
Joseph was a carpenter and Mary was a virgin who was pregnant with a child, which made her and her husband an outcast in that society, as no one believed them of course. The concept of them being outcasts really has me thinking this morning. NUMEROUS strangers (total outcasts in our society) have hung out in our hotel’s lobby, waiting for the bus, getting out of the cold, and sometimes just looking for someone to talk to. How many times have I turned these people away? How many times have I not been willing to engage them in a warm conversation? I’m sure it’s happened many times…
We have a way of classifying people; don’t we? If you graduated from college, work an 8-5 job, are married to an attractive and seemingly loving spouse, then you are deemed “approved”. You’ve earned the “respect” of your peers, right? The reality is even with all of those excellent resume-builders and various life-accomplishments you will never find the approval you’re looking for from others and that’s a sad reality of the world we live in.
So what does this mean for Believers?
Well, we serve a God of grace, mercy, and unconditional love; right? Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth in the flesh, lived a sinless life, was crucified (taking the punishment for OUR sins), died, was buried, and then rose from the grave (conquering both death and sin), so that we may have the freedom to be in fellowship with Him for all eternity! He’s rescued us from eternal torment and desires to be with us; desires to shower blessings of mercy and grace upon us, and desires to guide us lovingly towards righteousness for our own good; as any loving father should. THEREFORE, if we serve such a God, such a loving and gracious Father, shouldn’t we be willing to return that love, grace, and mercy to those we encounter in daily life? As an “innkeeper”, shouldn’t I desire to love and serve total strangers with as much love as Christ has offered me; regardless of whether or not they have been labeled as “outcasts”, “rebels”, “worthless”, “punks”, “gangsters”, and various other negative classifications.
You might not be an innkeeper of course, but I would venture to challenge your way of approaching your particular job and interactions with strangers on a daily basis. Whether you be spending leisure time in a coffee-shop (my favorite), walking the streets of downtown, shopping hastily for last-minute Christmas gifts, working, or ordering fast-food through the drive-thru (I worked at one for a whole summer once; be gracious with those cashiers. They work HARD and receive VERY little in return), you should be willing to love and serve the “lowest” of people. The Savior of the entire world served prostitutes, tax-collectors (corrupt government officials; we have plenty of those), insane, demon-possessed, and the like. If your King and Savior served these people…and you claim to be His servant; how much more so should you be willing to lay down your life, time, and resources to serve these people that they might have a chance of seeing the light of Christ in your hearts?!?!
Anyways, these are the simple ramblings of a gentleman in his early 20s attempting to serve the Lord as an “innkeeper” and as a student in college for the time-being. I don’t expect to change the world through my attempt at writing, but I’m simply sharing what the Lord has placed on my heart. I pray those of you that read anything I’ve written have been blessed and that the Holy Spirit has romanced your hearts towards righteousness!
Merry Christmas and many blessings to you and your families,
How far is too far? What can I get away with in this situation? Will I end up getting caught at some point? This isn’t necessarily wrong…is it? Or my personal favorite, “well I didn’t necessarily lie, I just omitted part of the truth.” In a society filled with lies; falsified legal documents, hacked personal sites, shady business practices, and relational conflicts stemming from white lies told during our numerous gossip sessions (don’t even get me started on gossip…), there is much darkness.
We all know that this world is a broken and dark place, so get to the point Justin. Okay, okay, I will. My family of professing Christians, many of you are no different than the world! You embellish stories to make yourself seem the bigger man, you judge others in your cynicism, and often gossip about one another; rarely considering the lethal consequences this can have to relationships. There is a REASON that God instructed us to avoid such a practice 8 times within Scripture (Proverbs 11:13, 16:28, 18:8, 20:19, 26:21-23, Romans 1:28-30, 1 Corinthians 12:19-21).
One of my favorite lines from a Mark Driscoll sermon was when he said “I didn’t say your name…He did!” referring to the Holy Spirit as he addressed a crowd of men who had just been stripped of their pride. Keep this in mind if my above statements rattle your cage and you feel your blood begin to boil with defensive accusations of “I’ve seen this in your life too!” Oh trust me, I’m well aware. I’m a sinner, saved only by the grace of Christ, and any good thing that comes from my mouth, any worthwhile action, any fragment of holiness that has EVER been produced on my behalf was done by the work of Christ in my heart and life. I take full responsibility and blame for anything that is lacking in my character and life, as Christ has given me EVERYTHING that I need in order to overcome sin and to pursue righteousness. It’s a simple matter of SURRENDER. But oh how we loathe surrender…
We’ve convinced ourselves time and time again that we are capable of controlling our sinful nature and we fail every. single. time. Satan WANTS you to believe that you are capable of withstanding temptation on your own. “You don’t need accountability or to pursue the strength of Christ in order to overcome the power pull of greed, lust, anger, and the like, you can do it on your own…” We love those words of affirmation that the Devil offers us and allow them to feed our pride, giving birth to arrogance, which produces a cold and stubborn heart that despises rebuke and calls to righteousness. Hence allowing ourselves to become numb and apathetic to the ruthless effects of sin in our lives and the lives of those we love.
Brothers and Sisters, you CANNOT overcome sin on your own. You are absolutely incapable of any form of righteousness without Christ. Do not be fooled. Do not listen to these pitiful lies the Evil One feeds you daily through media, self-help books, ill-advised friends, and many other sources. You MUST seek Christ!
Fellow Believers, we must flee from darkness!
Genesis 39 depicts the story of Joseph who was being tempted by Potiphar’s wife to come back to bed with her. What does Joseph do? He FLEES! He runs…
Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7 and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”
8 But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.
11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.
We must not allow ourselves to walk precariously along the edge of the Grand Canyon of sin. The analogy being that you wouldn’t want your child to play in a busy street, so your rule might be that they play in your yard or on the driveway where they are safest from harm. However, if they wander too close to the street your natural response (or at least my Mom’s) will be to call out for them to come back closer to the house where they are under your watchful eye.
If you are reading this, God is calling you back to His House. He doesn’t want you disobeying and playing too close to the street where you are in danger of being hit in a head-on collision with the fatal consequences of sin.
Stop flirting with darkness and pursue the Light; Seek Christ.