Thursday, May 5, 2016

Rejection Is A Lie from the Enemy

     Going through elementary and well into middle school, I dealt with a lot of rejection. I wore glasses. I had hearing aids. I smelled like cigarette smoke. I was this; I was that. In the midst of it all, I felt the only way to overcome this time in my life was to become somebody I wasn't. I would act a certain way to get people's attention; manipulate people into feeling bad for me therefore letting me get my way. I played the system when it came to people.
     Very recently, the ugly face of rejection showed up in my life again. Although I don't want to talk about the situation, I was reminded how easy it is for me to give in to rejection. For example, I used to feel instantly rejected when I saw pictures of my friends out and about having fun, yet I had never received an invite. I used to feel rejected when people would completely skip over me to ask someone else to complete a task. I used to feel rejected when someone would get promoted before me, although I had been there twice as long as they have.
     Rejection is a lie from the enemy. It's an easy way for the enemy to let us know that we'll never amount to anything. Rejection is my worst enemy. My whole life I always wanted to know my life was worth something, and many times, I tried to find that worth in people, materialistic things, and habitual lust. I always came out empty.
     Recently, I started reading "Battlefield of the Mind" by Joyce Meyer. In reading it, I felt instantly convicted in letting rejection have the best of my days. Joyce emphasizes many times to choose to think positive thoughts about every situation. Instead of feeling bad for yourself or feeling rejected, think about all of the experiences in your life where you've been celebrated, loved, and lifted up. In my own life, I shouldn't look at a picture of my friends having fun without me, and feel left out; I should think about the time my friends threw a "just because" party to honor me. I shouldn't focus on that co-worker getting a promotion; I should focus on the blessing of having a job.
     Let me encourage you if rejection is something you're currently dealing with. I don't want to sound too religious or cliché when I say this, but - ultimately - when it is all said and done, Jesus is all you'll ever need. People cannot define you. Materialistic things cannot find you. Habitual sin, though may be a temporary fix, cannot define you. You are who Jesus says you are; and He says you're His own.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

O Come to the Altar

Before the wheels left the ground in Birmingham, Alabama, I was already being tested in my faith. It was already a giant leap of faith flying to St. Louis on a one way ticket. I'm thankful that I've gotten this far, too. But, the test began when I was asked a very "controversial" question.

While I was sitting on the plane, I got to know the man beside me. He was an elderly man, flying to Texas to bring home his son from the war. What an honor to hear his story. He asked me what I was going to St. Louis for, and I told him I was moving there to be apart of the Joyce Meyer Ministry, serving at the St. Louis Dream Center in inner-city STL. There was a guy a few rows in front of me who turned around and got my attention. He asked me "What do you think about all of the controversy going on in Ferguson? And, how do you respond when someone ask for your opinion?" With the whole Ferguson situation still fresh on peoples' minds, I knew he was just trying to stir the pot.

My response to him made him mad because I decided to speak out of truth and love. I told that man what my Pastor back at home always said: "The greatest opinion to have is to not have one at all." My job is to love people right where they are. It doesn't matter what color there skin is or what there sexual orientation is. I don't get to have an opinion.

With all of this being said, I entitled this post as "O Come to the Alter." My heart is conflicted knowing there are people - like the guy I encountered on the plane - who only want to point out what the issues or situations are. We can be so occupied with circumstances that we: 1. Miss what God is trying to show us. 2. Get in the way of what God is trying to do in our lives. 3. Stone someone because of their sin not knowing we're just as sinful.

We look at people and think "I'm bad, but I'm not THAT bad." May I submit to you that we ALL have sinned, and are need of a Savior. It doesn't matter what theology you follow. It doesn't matter what denomination you attend. Jesus wants us to ALL come to the altar.

In the song "O Come to the Altar," there is a lyric that says:
"Leave behind your regrets and mistakes
Come today there's no reason to
Jesus is calling
Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy
From the ashes a new life is born
Jesus is calling"
I truly believe this is what Jesus wants for you. So when someone ask you a controversial question, respond with love, and watch the steam flare from their ears. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that."