|Posted by Latasha Morgan on May 7, 2013 at 9:10 PM|
Jesus, I believe. Help my unbelief.
This statement, I feel, is the story of my life. I accepted Christ at a young age because I believed that he is who he says he is. The perfect son of God, and the sacrificial lamb for all who will believe and accept him. I did not wait to spend time with him, or to begin getting to know what he expected out of me. At eight, I had just as many things that needed to be corrected as any adult because sin, like faith, is also a seed. But gone unchecked, that seed sprouts into uncontrollable, impossible to manage weeds that can not be cut down or tamed by human ingenuity. I needed God's word to become prominent in my life.
All my life I can honestly admit, my biggest problem has always been me. How I handle situations and how I process those tough things, that is all me. At eight, my mother pointed out some character flaws that she saw in me. One was my pride, my inability to let things go without retaliating or paying it backwards. She took the time to show me in God's word how that would never end the way I hoped, but that it would be fuel to a fire that I was already not in control in. Her advice was that I pray and ask God to remove that from me.
The beautiful thing about being eight and learning that you have something to fix is that sincerity and time are more on your side. You are not weighed down with how the world sees you, or what other people are going to think, you really are only concerned about the task at hand. So I began to pray. I was able to pray and watch as God was gradually changing me until one day, only four short years later, my desire for vengeance was gone.
All through my teen years, I kept up with the building of my relationship with God. And I am thankful to say that I am the better for it. I really invested myself in getting to know him, and by default getting to know me. I realized that there were things in me that made me a stranger to myself, and those were things that God knew about me and could work on. The one thing that I am still in the heat of trying to perfect is my ability to believe and live as though something is when it seems as though it isn't.
I am still learning how to take God's word and not just trust it in theory, but trust it in every part of my being. When I know that he is moving, my behavior should imitate that belief, but so often seeing the circumstances serve as discouragement when I should be mature enough to know that God has it handled. Theory is great, but application is better. I have enough faith to bring him my problems, enough faith to know that he can handle it, I need more faith to combat those moments when circumstance seems to be too much. I can say that circumstance has not caused me to abandon my trust in him, but that trust needs to grow to a place where nothing interferes; not even my own emotion. Why remain angry over something that he said he would fix? Because I still need help with my unbelief! I long for great faith. I don't want to stay in the mustard seed faith that I started out with, I need it to grow!
Jesus, I believe. Help my unbelief.
|Posted by Latasha Morgan on May 7, 2013 at 9:00 PM|
Live in Him
The other day, my father and I were having a beautiful telephone conversation about a statement that I made. My statement was, It is unfortunate when people do things just to be seen by men. It, in my opinion, is a sad indictment when a christian thinks that there is more reward to come from living your life to be praised by men or people, rather than living to please God. My father assured me that it was the combination of a few things, 1. they desperately want to be somebody and they don't view themselves as that already, 2. they don't realize that without God, it is all for nothing, and 3. they can't see the destruction and devastation that comes when they are not willing to surrender themselves completely to the God who created them in the first place.
He made me think of a specific verse that says, "if you abide in me, and my word abides in you, then you shall ask what you will and it will be given." This is a verse that I love and I will tell you why, it gives away a good portion of the secret to life, the secret to contentment, the secret to fulfillment; that is living with and in God's word. Somewhere in my teen years, I discovered this verse. I had read it numerous times over the course of a number of years but it took a little bit of maturity and life for it to finally catch my eye and understanding.
Everyone has a dream, but not every dream is of God or in his will and purpose for your life. So when you get caught up in those things that you feel will get you recognized by people, you have to ask yourself is this what God wants? I can honestly say that I would much rather have the type of relationship with God that opens the door of yes, you can have it. Not because I want to use God but because being told no doesn't really feel that great. And everyone wants to be successful, even at their relationship with the father.
So meditating on this verse for a while, I understood that I needed to really begin abiding/living in and with God's word. That meant that I had to immediately begin to get over myself, because it would no longer be about me. I needed to study, study, study God's word and every time that I understood that something that was written contradicted something that I was living, I had to let go of that thing, that sin. I soon came across another set of verses, by the prompting of my mother, that I had to make sure that I had secure in my life; Isaiah 58. The whole chapter about what true fasting and true worship look like.
There is a part that makes me say, yes! I definitely need this! I don't know about anyone else but when I speak to God, I want him to answer. I want him to not only hear me, but I want to hear him. So I began working on fixing any of the things that did not line up in this chapter and that part where it reads:
8“Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind.
9Then when you call, the LORD will answer.
‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.
Those are things that began happening to me. My prayer life alone was awesomely changed. I had learned how to pray, what to pray, how to live, what to live, and I was learning how to imitate God's word. There were things that had previously bothered me, and would often hurt my feelings that no longer affected me the same way. I understood that God really did love me, and I really had him to lean on daily. He had become my everything. I started making prayer list and checking things off as they were answered. And I would spend hours just praying for other people. I gained numerous opportunities to share God's love for people and I watched as people allowed God to change them while allowing me to point to him. It was amazing!!!! And I understand something else God said,
11. so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
God has a purpose for every part of his word that is sewn into my life and into yours. If we would just be willing to turn away from our sins, choose him, and allow his word top rank in our lives; there really is nothing left for us but success in him. His promises are true, and his word is forever. Live in him.
|Posted by Latasha Morgan on May 7, 2013 at 8:50 PM|
Don't Walk Through Every Open Door
I was up late last night, just thinking. I was replaying so many conversations that I have had with people who can't seem to understand why some situations are set up to fail. It is those situations where we see the open door, but we miss the abandoned house or building that is attached to it.
So here is a quick analogy and question. If you were walking down a street and saw the most beautiful door, and it is open, does that automatically mean that you should walk in, or even worse purchase the whole house?
I think so many of us do this. We see, what we perceive as a gorgeous open door, but we never take the necessary time or steps to make sure that the house is okay, or the foundation is structurally sound. We never really walk around and inspect the property, or see the warning that is posted. We are normally so excited that the door is open, and that finally we have a place to call our own that we miss the danger symbol that is on every window, and the notices that are posted all over the house, not to mention all of the yellow caution tape wrapped around it. And why do we miss it? Why do we only notice after we realize that we have become a casualty, buried alive underneath a house that couldn't help but fall?
We miss it because all we saw was the open door. All we noticed was the free opportunity. God says, "Be anxious for nothing...." This includes but is not limited to relationships, marriage, all hasty decisions. I listen to people as they complain that they want a spouse, they just want someone to love and someone who loves them. While there is nothing wrong with that desire, if you are not a licensed contractor or someone who has at least spent a lot of time at a construction site, then you are probably not the best person to choose the house that you want to own. You need someone with some expertise, and when it comes to marriage or getting caught in relationships, the first thing to do is to get to know the father. Spend as much time as you can experiencing his wisdom, his knowledge, and memorizing the sound of his voice. KNOW HIS WORD!!!!!!
Why? You might ask. Because, while you are prone to run into doors simply because they are open, God sees so much more than that. While we are not equipped to see the hearts of men, God is able to see not only their beginning, but their middle and their end. He knows whether or not this house or life is about to crash and burn and he can stop you from being stuck inside, if you would only let him.
A loving warning: Don't Walk Through Every Open Door!
|Posted by Latasha Morgan on May 7, 2013 at 8:45 PM|
The Maintenance of Faith
So often, I tell my children that today they need to take a shower. Without fail, someone will always let me know that, in fact, they took a shower yesterday! Now what became evident to me is that we begin our bittersweet relationship with the maintenance of things in early childhood.
Now, if I were to tell my children, "but I fed you yesterday or better yet, last week!" Would they begin to understand that some things just require a daily maintaining. What is amazing to me is that, as adults, we are no different. Especially with our faith.
How many of us try to live off of the tune-up of faith we had last week? But if we tried to tell landlords, bill collectors, or lenders, "remember when I paid with that check I made in 1986?" We would be homeless, hungry and cold, depending on the time of year.
In faith, it really takes a daily tune-up! It requires daily maintenance! Because there is so much wear and tear that happens on a daily basis. When we forfeit the opportunity to maintain it, we lose. We break down, we end up with a flat, and there is no spare; just the opportunity to get the necessary work done.
When we forego the daily maintenance of faith, we run the risk of stepping into the world on empty. Many times, without power steering and we end up out of control so quickly. We stop being so quick to forgive, to love, to overlook, and see the best in others. We aren't in the mood to encourage, to build up, or invest in others what we haven't invested in ourselves already. We are quick to speak, but slow to listen even when we know it should be the other way around. And in marriages the maintenance is doubled, tripled, or quadrupled depending on the lives that are in that family.
The Maintenance of Faith has to be completed on daily and consistent basis if the outcome of the life attached is to have any chance at success.
It takes work, time, persistence, endurance... Daily.
|Posted by Latasha Morgan on May 7, 2013 at 8:40 PM|
I am salt and I am light
In today's society salt seems sparse and light just a little bit dim. I just had to ask the question, Why?
As Christ followers, isn't our first responsibility to follow Christ? And in order to properly do that, shouldn't we study those spiritual places that he lived in? Sometimes, we get so caught up in wanting to show others where their paths are wrong, but the first thing Christ dealt with was making certain that his path was straight. He kept his life clean, loved others, gave of himself and made sure that there was a place prepared for anyone who wanted to follow his lead.
As his followers and as people who claim him as savior, our responsibility is to imitate the life of Christ. Be light as he was light and be salt as he was salt. He never used salt in the eyes of those who wanted to see, but used it to preserve goodness, to enhance righteousness, to give flavor where it was lacking. Light was used, not to interrogate but to give sight to those who were blind, lost and stumbling through darkness.
It is tempting, sometimes, to want to correct the wrong we see in someone else's life when that same wrong, or some version or assimilation of that sin is present in our lives. The word says is like this, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)
I will explain it like this, a surgeon does not do surgery with clouded goggles on. He or she must go in prepped with an understanding of the problem or thing that needs to be operated on. They are normally very careful when performing the surgery, because they do not want to be responsible for injuring other parts or organs in that person's life. And so very gently, very carefully, and after much study and practice they are able to perform a successful operation.
To be salt and light the way God intends, and not the way man intends, we must be gentle, careful, prepared in his word and not our feelings and opinions, and we must have so much practice. There needs to be a steady life attached to the person who wants to correct another, just like there needs to be a steady hand attached to any surgeon. We must be careful not to injure or harm, because injuries are not always reversible. We must make sure that our lives are salt and not salt mixed with other things.
If we look at how Christ corrected, he was never mean-spirited, never hateful, never trying to embarrass or do damage but his correction was for a purpose, and that was to build-up the person being corrected, and to bring that person closer to him and further away from their sin. When he healed sinners, he did not then go and name a list of the sins that they committed in front of all who were present. He and the person healed understood that there were things that needed to be corrected, and his charge was a simple 'go, and sin no more.' He did not make a spectacle of himself or the life that he was correcting. At no time did he eat with sinners and mock them, he loved them and wanted the best for their lives. He did not talk behind their backs and laugh at the sins, but genuinely cared for people at great expense to himself. He was a doctor to the sick, light to darkness, and salt to a flavorless world.
I pray this for our lives, that we can honestly proclaim "I am salt and I am light!" And that our lives line up perfectly with that proclamation.
|Posted by Latasha Morgan on May 7, 2013 at 8:40 PM|
A few days ago, my children woke up excited! It was field day, and they had been training to win at their chosen sports or activities. And it is all about fun and competition, but life is a bit different. The race and the competition, while alive and well, are still centered on who you have to beat and what has to take place in order to be victorious, but it is not about fun. The race in life deals with the competition that happens between our spirit and our flesh! And both are often fierce competitors.
Both are capable of strenuous training, but only one can win. You are the only one who decides the training that you will go through. You are the only one that can decide how hard you are willing to train. Are you willing to endure the hardship and pain that accompanies denying oneself those fruitless pleasures of the world? Many athletes give up various foods and drinks from their diets, they give up the distractions that would keep them from the days practice, and they give up the option to quit and throw the towel in when things get hard.
I want to be an olympian in Christ! But that is not something that comes easy. And we all have the opportunity to take home the gold; to stand in front of our Heavenly Father at the finish line and hear "Well done, good and faithful servant!" Everyone has the opportunity to have that, but it requires patience, endurance, long-suffering, zeal, and a true willingness to deny self for the cause of Christ.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
We are never to run someone else's race. Our race is set on whatever path God has chosen for us. It would be sad to see a runner who has trained to sprint all of a sudden try to take up long distance. Now in the spiritual, we should all be ready to go the distance, but each path is different. I will probably never have a need to build a giant ark and take animals 2 by 2, (mainly because I am not Noah, and I don't like animals.) I will never have a reason to relive the life of Joseph, the way Joseph did, but I will have my own hardships. I may never have the triumph and tragedy that Job experienced, but I can develop that faith. My race, my path, my story is chosen by the God. My responsibility is to train, get prepared, conditioned and seasoned for the run.
It is my responsibility to starve myself of the sin that feeds the flesh, and feast on God's word and my love and commitment to him. My diet should be appropriately regimented in order to maintain my strength and thrive during training. My attitude should mirror my expectation of victory. I don't train to quit, and I won't run to lose. My race involves me choosing Christ over the world and at the end of the race; I will take home the gold.