Thursday, July 28, 2011

Misunderstanding of Freedom

We have a huge misunderstanding of the word "Freedom" in this country. Ever since we were born we have been taught about our freedom as an American and how we are free to do as we please. While Freedom is the foundation on which this country was built, it seems as though there has been a little misunderstanding and misuse of the word.

It is my opinion that Freedom was intended to allow us to make decisions about how to live and contribute in society. But, we Americans, have twisted this right and used it to mean we are free to do nothing if we so choose. But being Free does not mean you do not have to do or be. Being Free means you have the right to choose what you will do and be, but doing nothing or being nothing was not the purpose.

Being free means you have the right to choose what religion you will believe in but it was not intended to mean you have the right to not believe. Freedom means you have the right to vote for whichever political candidate you would like but it was not intended to mean you have the right to not vote. Freedom means you can work in whatever industry or job you choose but it was not intended to mean you can choose to not contribute to society. Freedom means you can say whatever you feel and you can speak your mind but it was not intended to mean you are free to say mean things to hurt others and bring them down. Being free means we can travel to other countries throughout the world but it was not intended to mean that we can go to those countries and act in a disrespectful manner.

Freedom was intended to be a right for us to choose different paths, beliefs and options in life. Freedom was given to us so that our lives are not ruled by someone else but rather we are able to make decisions for ourselves. One thing the founding fathers failed to realize was that we are a selfish people and that we will often argue for a very literal meaning of the word and will not to try and understand its intended purpose. We take freedom to mean "we don't have to" rather than "we get to". Congratulations, we found the loophole!

Our military does not fight oversees for us so that we can be worthless. They are not sacrificing their lives so we can be mooches. They are not going to war for us to be able to sit back and be nothing. They fight for our freedom which gives us the opportunity to be more.

Freedom should be looked at as a gift and not a right and thus should be appreciated and utilized for the betterment of our world and the improvement of our society, not the destruction. You are free to do as you please so do something worthwhile and make a difference!

"Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better"~Albert Camus

People around the world would do anything for freedom, so make sure you are doing something with yours.

giving it my all

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What will it take?

While reading Exodus and learning about how God led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt I quickly saw a strong parallel to my everyday life that I wanted to share. Maybe you can relate.

The story is one you have probably heard but basically God instructs Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. He shows the Pharaoh his mighty power by performing huge acts such as turning the Nile river into blood, creating a massive hail storm, creating infection amongst the people and the list goes on all in an attempt to free the Israelites. What I find very interesting and relevant to my life was the constant refusal of God by the Pharaoh, even when God made his power so obvious. This, to me, is similar to how I am often unwilling to give up my sense of control in my own life and submit to God even when He shows me how real He is. Often times I feel as though obeying and following God means that I can no longer be how I want to be. God, on multiple occasions, showed His ability and power to the Pharaoh and each time the Pharaoh would plead for God to relent. However, each time God would ease up, the Pharaoh would then return to his wicked ways and not hold up his end of the bargain. It almost as if God did not exist when He was no longer needed. Have you ever pleaded with God and then quickly forgot about your promise to God? Have you ever promised God in prayer that you will never do "that thing" again if he just let you make it through?

As the story continues the Pharaoh decides to send his army to regain control of the Israelites that just escaped. God parts the Red Sea allowing the Israelites to cross to the other side by dry land. When the Egyptians attempt to chase after them, the sea converges on them and they all drown. Now clearly if something of this magnitude happened in anyone's life, believer or not I think it would be hard to not put their faith in God. It is not every day that a sea is parted before your eyes to save your life and defeats your enemy. Now we see the Isrealites forget about what God has done for them and turn.

Within three days of the parting of the sea and them being freed, the Israelites are faced with a relatively small amount of adversity as they become thirsty. They immediately forget about where God has lead them and begin to complain. Could they really think that God could part a sea but not provide water to quench their thirst? Has God ever performed miraculous acts in your life and yet you have doubted Him in much smaller instances? Of course God hears their cries and provides an abundance of water. The bible actually says that God takes them to a place called Elim where there are twelve springs and 70 palms; basically paradise. What a surprise!

Does this sound like a familiar story? This is the story of my life. God is all around me in every way, answering my prayers and the prayers of others in my life. He punishes me in obvious ways when I disobey, showing me He cares. He rescues me when I am being chased. Once I get what I need I quickly turn back in my old ways and forget what He has done for me.

What will it take? What more do we need to see to have total faith in Him?

tryin' to make sense of it all

Monday, July 25, 2011

Distracted by His blessings....#fail

So its been a little while since I have written a blog. I am not hear to make any excuses but rather to confess the reason why I have not written anything lately.

The last few weeks and even months have been amazing for me, a true blessing from God. However, being the sinful person that I am I was easily distracted and pulled away from God because I was too busy and was not making time for Him.

Lately, the majority of my blogs have been inspired by church sermons or readings from the bible that have really hit home with me. Over the past few weeks I have been going to church and sitting down to read the bible but it has been very difficult for me to focus on what I am reading in the bible or the message I am hearing at church. Its like I have been distracted by all the other things going on in my life and have not made time for God. I sit down to read but my mind is elsewhere. I try and listen in church but something distracts me. I have just been going through the motions.

The worse part is that God is the one that has blessed me with all the things that are distracting me from Him and I hate that I am a weak being that cannot continue to keep him at the forefront of my life. Whats even crazier is that I am trying hard but I am realizing that even with much effort I still fail.

Yesterday I attended a church in Marble Falls called Lake Shore. There was a soft spoken, older man that stood up and spoke during the service. In his quiet voice he expressed his conviction for God and you could see in his eyes that he had 100% faith in God. His faith in God was so strong and his conviction so real that he begin tearing up while talking about it. He wasn't talking about anything sad or bad that had happened in his life, or any recent experiences he had been through but rather the great exchange in which Jesus died for all man's sin.

This site really hit me hard because I started thinking about how I have felt so distracted by everything else and not focused on God and here is a man that is totally focused on God without any distractions. I could see in 5 minutes of him talking that he had a faith stronger than anything I have ever seen. I want that to be me. I want God to be the forefront of everything that I do and I want to always put God first.

I would love to have the continuous passion I have for my company, for God. I would love to make time for studying His word like I make time for running and exercise. I want to have no doubts about putting money into the offering basket that goes by just as I have no doubts about spending money on clothes, a nice dinner or a marketing piece. I want to be excited about God like I am excited about the real estate game. I want to be on fire for God, always!

Psalms 1:2-3 – Blessed is the man who’s delight is in the law of the Lord and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not whither. Whatever he does prospers.

All these gifts were given to me by God for a reason and I want to use these instruments for His purpose and kingdom. I know where I want to be....the challenge is getting there! And it cannot be done without Him.

Below are two relevant blog posts I wrote (clearly this is a common struggle):

Seek when you are not weak

Why is it so easy to stray from God?

Pray for me

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

EVERYONE Needs Compassion

I may take some heat for this post but I have to share my thoughts as they come to me. Please do not get frustrated or emotional but try to understand and think about it in a different way.

We all know that the verdict came in for Casey Anthony as not guilty and all day yesterday and today I cannot find a media outlet that is not discussing this topic as the main headline. If I log in to Facebook or Twitter there are many posts bashing Casey Anthony or the legal system. I have no idea on whether she committed the crime, nor am I the judge. I think murder is terrible and I really am just torn that something so tragic has happened in our society.

In John chapter 8 of the bible, we learn about a woman that has committed adultery. According to the law of the time, the punishment for this crime is to be stoned publicly. In the story the teachers of the law and the Pharisees bring the women to Jesus asking him to punish this woman for her sin. Jesus basically ignores their request and continues to draw in the sand. As the people continue to question Jesus he finally stands up and says "If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."(John 8:7) One by one the people turned and walked away.

This is a very interesting story and one that is very hard to hear. Jesus never approved or condoned adultery. However, Jesus shares this story because he wants us to understand that it is our job as people of God to offer forgiveness and compassion. It is God's job to judge. Now I understand that one may argue that killing a child and cheating on your husband are of no comparison. Other's that may have been cheated on may argue differently. The point is that it is all subjective and thus we must respect all sin, as sin.

Either way, the crime that has been committed is horrendous to say the least. But can we not show some compassion for this woman who clearly has many issues? I find it very hard to believe that anyone on this earth is just out to kill, "just because". Rather, I believe that people that commit these horrible crimes, do so because they are ill mentally. Something in their mind is different than that of you and I.

What if we were a people that rather than publicly bash this poor woman, we would fall to our hands and needs and offer up our prayers for her, "That the good Lord would fill her broken spirit and remove any bad from her life"? What if we prayed for this woman for the loss of her daughter, the destruction of her family and the public shame and humility she has endured? No matter what the verdict is, this woman needs our prayers, compassion and forgiveness now more than ever.

I know that I would never kill someone, but I also know that I have made many mistakes in my life. I also know that with the bad things I have done, I am undeserving of forgiveness. I am, however, grateful that I have been shown compassion and forgiveness in my life which has allowed me to move forward and improve on my "problem areas". Let us not lose site of who we are in all of this and let us set our eyes on God to be the ultimate judge. I trust with everything that I have that He is in full control of all that took place in that trial. He knows the truth and will handle the situation in a way that is pleasing to Him. In that I trust. But as a follower of Christ, I must show compassion and forgiveness, especially when it is the hardest. That is the call, whether you like it or not.

Listen to this song - Might to Save

A few good quotes on compassion:

“Compassion is the basis of all morality”~ Arthur Schopenhauer

“It is lack of love for ourselves that inhibits our compassion toward others. If we make friends with ourselves, then there is no obstacle to opening our hearts and minds to others.”

“Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation.”~ Henry Ward Beecher

“Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.”~Frederick Buechner

Prayin for compassion!