Time: God’s Gift to us

Have you ever thought about time? I’ve been listening to this song by Jill Paquette called “One of these Days” which has a line in it that says, “Your love brought time just what I needed, to see I needed you.” Wow! What a profound statement. Time, truly is a gift from God. Have you ever heard someone say “we are not promised tomorrow”? In many ways many of us do take tomorrow for granted, like it’s owed to us, even guaranteed. Many of us may even live like we have all the time in the world, like we will live for 100 years. When I look back at my own life, I see just how true this was/is for me.

When I was caught in drug addiction, I had no sense of time. I had all the time in the world to waste, so to speak. I also remember how Jesus intervened in my in life and gave me more time. You see, when I was living in my mess of a life, my goal in life was to make it to 30 years of age. I didn’t have very many dreams or aspirations. My life revolved around drugs and having a good time. I lived recklessly and foolishly. It’s funny, when Jesus began to move in my life, showing me that He was real, that He loved me and that He had a purpose for my life was when I was 29 years old. Then, Jesus saved me at 30, which to use biblical terminology, my old self died with Jesus on the Cross (Galatians 2:20) and my new self came to life with Him through His resurrection (Ephesians 2:6). So, technically speaking I did die at 30 with Jesus, but was give a new life and…more time. This is something I am eternally grateful for and is a good reminder that right now I am living on bonus time.

This time we have isn’t promised to us nor do we earned it. No, the time we have is truly a gift from God and I pray that by the grace of God during this time we would all come to truly see just how much we need Jesus in our lives. My prayer for you and for the many people right now struggling with drug addiction is that God would meet each one and give them the the gift of time to come to know Jesus and be saved by Him.

The Jesus Life

A bible verse that is very near and dear to my heart is 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” What an amazing truth! When Jesus saved me, this was one of the verses that the pastor shared with me. I remember very clearly my thoughts in this moment. I thought to myself “I am so tired of living this life of drug addiction, if Jesus wants my life and can do something better with it then He can have it.” And Jesus has been true to His Word. My life is a living testimony to this truth. My continual prayer is that Jesus would continue to encounter those struggling with drug addiction and speak the promise of this verse to them. If this is you, then receive this truth. If you have a loved one or friend in bondage to drug addiction then I pray that the Holy Spirit would cultivate a patch of good soil in their heart to receive this truth. And for you who has been faithfully interceding at 4:20, I pray the Lord would speak to you about His great pleasure in your sacrifice and obedience.

Imagine Me (Kirk Franklin)

I’ve heard a preacher recently say that “pain will always seek pleasure to ease the pain” in which I would also add to escape or forget: “Pain will always seek pleasure to ease, escape or to forget the pain.” If I’m honest this was why I started to do drugs and what kept me addicted to drugs. In this life we will experience all sorts of pain, but what will either make us or break us how we deal with this pain. God promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5) which means to me that whenever I suffer pain, He promises to be with me in my pain and the Bible tells me that if God is there, He will work all things for my good (Romans 8:28). This is an amazing truth. And it is in the midst of embracing this truth that we can being to imagine a life free from all the pain and suffering that a broken and fallen world filled with selfish and sinful people have caused us. This why I love this song so much because it speaks of this kind of hope the presence of God brings to a broken life.

God’s Grace (Trin-I-Tee 5:7)

There’s so much I love about this song. It touches on so many aspects of God’s grace for our lives but the last words of this song sum it up well “Just remember that His grace will keep you.” If you are struggling today, remember these words “Today, God’s grace will keep you because His grace is sufficient for you today” (2 Corinthians 2:19).

Living the Dream

Praise the Lord! 15 years ago Jesus saved me from a hopeless life of drug addiction, pain and loneliness. And I declare that Jesus will continue to save and set more and more people free!

Vineyard Worship: SURE

One thing that has kept me going recently is the reality that “God will not give up on me!” That He was, is and always will be faithful until the very end. I don’t know about you but when I am in a challenging season, I need to many reminders because the negative and discouraging thoughts just keep coming. But, God is faithful and He will often bring a song in season that speaks out the cry of my heart and encourages me in what I need to be reminded of in terms of God’s character.

Sure as my life is in Your hands. Sure as Your sacrifice has set me free. When all is shaking, Lord Your love stands firm. Your spirit calms my heart and steadies me. (x2)

You’re the anchor that’s holding me.

I’m sure of Your faithfulness. I’m sure that You will never change. My Lord, You won’t give up on me. (x2)

Matthew 28:20b (NIV) “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age!”

Hebrews 13:8 (NLT) “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

One Thirst: Jeremy Riddle & Steffany Frizzell

What is it that you thirst for?

You say to us, seek Your Face
Our hearts reply, Your Face we seek

Come teach us Lord, reveal Your ways,
Anoint us for, the greater things

We have gathered with one thirst and hunger
Here to drink of glory and wonder
Here to cry out, Come and fill this place!
Come and fill this place

Our single wish, our sole desire
To gaze upon, Your beauty God
We will not rest, nor will we cease
Till with our eyes, Your face we see

We wait for you to come and show
Your glory here today

We wait for you…
Hallelujah, Come (repeat)

Lyrics: (Jeremy Riddle, © BETHEL MUSIC)

Furious: Jeremy Riddle (Bethel Church)

God is passionate about drawing near to people and saving them from their dysfunctions and distortions. He is passionate about bringing great healing to people’s hearts and lives and victorious deliverance to them from darkness and demonic oppression. His love truly is furious because He cannot stand to see His creation (us) not living as He created us. You see, the devil has a plan for your life (keeping people bound in addictions is one of his plans among others), we have a plan for our own lives (which may seem good, but is limited) and then God has a plan for your life (which is perfect and full of hope and blessing). I don’t know about you but I’ve already spent part of my life living the devil’s plan for my life and in many ways have continued to struggle in letting go of my own plans for my life because I have tasted what God’s plan is for my life and let me tell you it is more than I could have ever dreamed of. I get to spend each and everyday with the Creator of the Universe. I get to know and experience His passionate love for me all the time. I also get to live out God’s amazing destiny for my life which can be challenging at times because it pushes me to live by faith, but at the end of the day there truly is no other way I desire to live. Being caught up into God’s furious love has forever changed me and now carries me into living out my eternity destiny here on earth. Do you know the furious love of God?

I Will Exalt You: Steffany Frizzell (Bethel Church)

This song is my prayer for people who struggle with drug and/or alcohol addiction: that one day they would exalt the Lord Jesus with their lives. I pray that the Father would intervene into their lives and release grace to them and pull them from their addictions. I firmly believe that without God’s direct intervention addicts and alcoholics will be hopelessly bound by their addiction. Sure, I believe that to some degree people can manage their addiction for awhile, even a long while. But, for true freedom from addictions, this only comes through the grace and power of God. So join the 420 Prayer Movement today and begin praying for the many people who struggle with addictions!

one of these days (Jill Paquette)

I’m not sure why I’m so drawn into this song. There’s just something that resonates so powerfully within me when I hear the lyrics: “Your life brought more than freedom, Your love brought time just what I needed to see I needed You.” I love that God is so incredibly patient with us and that He gives us time to come to Him as He reveals more of Himself to us. My heart warms as I read how Jesus describes God, not a harsh taskmaster, but as a loving Father.

Transformation can be messy and I don’t know about you, but I’m glad that I’m not on some deadline when it comes to being transformed by God and that He extends grace and time to me as He transforms me through His Word and Spirit. Sure, there are times that I wished the process of transformation was quicker and easier, but this is different than having to conform to some timetable. The desire to be transformed faster is completely different than if we had to actually meet some transformational deadlines.

Imagine if God placed due dates on us, like, by Tuesday I’d like if you stopped being short tempered with people and by June next year I’d like you to stop judging people completely. Now, I’m hoping you see the absurdity of this and hear my heart. I’m not saying having a plan is a bad thing. Plans can at times help frame and put things in perspective, but too often our plans and timetables can put an undue burden on us especially if our plans get in the way of us hearing and responding to God’s presence in our lives.

Transformation must be seen as more of an organic process than some to-do list or clinical step-by-step process. To put it simply, transformation must be seen from a relational perspective, God moves and we respond, which is definitely easier said than done. But, I am more and more convinced that laying down our will means also surrendering the plans and desires of our hearts to God. It’s not that we don’t have plans or desires, but we surrender them to God, so that He can align them with His plans and desires for our lives.