5 years of Freedom

This weekend I am celebrating five years of freedom. I have found freedom from not only numerous addictions but also bitterness, anger and so much more. I once was plagued with anxiety that would literally cripple me but now I have peace and joy. Today I have hope because Jesus found me in the most pathetic of conditions and HE gave me a hope and a future. He took all my scabs, wounds and
diseases and turned them into beautiful scars.

Andrew chalmersMy own past is hard for me to look at sometimes. I still remember things with a sense of regret. The beautiful thing about what God has done with these things is that He has healed them and made them all new. These scars all have a new “layer of skin” that demonstrates that God is truly my healer. I don’t fear talking about them now because when people look at these scars they no longer can see just my past but they can also see all that God has done to bring hope and healing. These scars show others that God is real and He is really good.

Five years ago this weekend I had a long list of labels stitched into the fabric of my life. Some said, “addict” others said things like “depressed” and “criminal”. I had a whole stack of diagnoses and mess ups that defined my future for me. They told me what I could expect and what was to come. I felt hopeless.

The beautiful thing is that five years ago this weekend something so unexpected happened. God began to reveal His love and power to me. He began to show me that even in my pathetic situation He wanted me to be His friend. Jesus pursued me and loved me even when I put my middle finger up in His face and said, “I HATE YOU.” The Father cried out “come home son” with an open hand pleading for me to simply approach Him even when I was running the opposite way. God’s relentless love is what pursued me and changed my heart forever.

I was surprised and caught off guard when I encountered God’s love. It loved when I hated. It ran after me when I ran away. It gave me Hope when I wanted to give up and felt so worthless. It gave me courage when I was ready to give up completely.

I was surprised and caught off guard when I encountered Gods love. It loved when I hated. It ran after me when I ran away. It gave me Hope when I wanted to give up and felt so worthless. It gave me courage when I was ready to give up completely.

It was Gods love that changed me, healed me and delivered me from my past. His love is what has sustained me for the last five years. His love is what I think about and talk about because today it is all that really matters. I am forever grateful for His great love for me. I am blown away that a Perfect Father has loved me and accepted me for exactly who I am, who I was and who I will be.

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A Letter from a Former Heroin Addict

rachel

When I was a young girl, I dreamt of being a ballerina and a scientist. But by my teenage years, those dreams were gone and thoughts of insecurities daily controlled my mind about exercise, losing weight, and my outward appearance even though I was perfectly healthy. Pressure and heartbreak caused my insecurities to grow rampant. In the midst of depression I used drugs and alcohol to help the pain. I fell in love with the feeling of shooting up heroin.

I devoted all of my money to drugs. My thoughts were consumed with getting high. I hated spending all of my money on drugs and I hated the track marks on my arms and body, but the pain was unbearable when I was sober. I thought I was choosing drugs to help me, but in reality I was enslaved to the lifestyle of addiction. I truly thought I could never be free from the noise in my mind and from the drugs that I needed. One day in my bedroom I asked God, “Please if you are real, fix me.”

It was very soon after this that my simple prayer for help was answered and I went to a Christian recovery program called Teen Challenge. I asked Jesus to come into my heart and to help me to live for Him. Since then He has set me free from addiction and from the anorexic tendencies that I once had. I have not done drugs for 3 years and I have peace in my mind and joy each morning. I hope my story helps you to see that the same thing can happen for you.

I want to encourage anyone who is trapped in addiction or insecurities that there is HOPE. You can be completely free. The truth is that God loves you no matter what you are going through and there is nothing, no addiction, no circumstance, no hurt- that is too much for Him to handle.

With love,

Rachel

(To hear more stories like this one check out the With Love Movement website)

Beliefs of Remarkably Productive People

This is an amazing guest post from a pastor from Columbus, GA that I have so much respect and honor for. I know that this post will be a huge blessing for you! 

2 Peter 1:5 – 8  (NIV) For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

shutterstock_134044358Remarkable productive people, regardless of industry or profession, all share similar perspectives and beliefs.  Successful people act on beliefs that fuel success:  It is a fallacy for the Christian to take the equation of his diligence in the use of their time and energy out of the formula for victorious living.  Our desire for success should not interfere with a Christian’s faith.  Our faith should be married to our desire to be a blessing to the Kingdom of God.  God desires for us to be prosperous so that we can be a blessing to His Kingdom.  Far too many Christians live with a poverty mentality by their actions.  It is easy to call it faith and then settle for less than God intended for us.  Our faith should empower us to seek to be successful!  Know that success is a badge of honor to be offered to God.  It does little to speak of God’s grace in my life when I am broke, don’t tithe, can’t seem to pay bills or provide for the family or support those who serve on mission fields.  God’s grace should propel us to success that we can bless the Kingdom of God.  It is by the grace of God that we are able to succeed in life.  We give our best, but realize without God’s grace in our life it all is in vain and selfish gain.  Success for the Child of God is defined in grace.  Grace is the power to become all you can be and do all that you can do.  Grace is the fertile soil for success.  Grace should never be an excuse for failure or lack of provision for God’s purposes.

 

1. Time doesn’t fill me. I fill time.

Deadlines and time frames establish parameters, but typically not in a good way.  The average person who is given two weeks to complete a task will instinctively adjust his effort so it actually takes two weeks.  Forget deadlines, at least as a way to manage your activity.  Tasks should only take as long as they need to take.  Do everything as quickly and effectively as you can.  Then use your “free” time to get other things done just as quickly and effectively.

Average people allow time to impose its will on them; remarkable people impose their will on their time.  Control the events of your life or time will control your life.  When you bring your highest priorities into agreement with the events of your life you will find a great amount of peace in your life.

2. The people around me are the people I chose.

Some people will drive you nuts. Some of your own family can be obnoxious. Some of your friends are selfish, all-about-me jerks.  Be honest enough to recognize people for who they are.  We chose the people we spend our time with for the most part.  If there are people around you that make you unhappy it’s not their fault. It’s your fault.  You drew them to you–and you let them remain.  You do not have to offend people or cast them aside, just don’t give your time and attention to people who drain you and restrain you.

Think about the type of people you want to associate with. Think about the individuals who inspire you.  Think about people you desire to serve. Think about the friends you want to have.  Don’t let friends pick you, you pick your friends who share your time and activity.  Ask God for wisdom to change you so you can attract successful people. Hardworking people want to work with hardworking people. Kind people like to associate with kind people. Successful people are naturally drawn to successful people.

3. I have never paid my dues.

Dues aren’t paid, past tense. Dues get paid, each and every day. The only real measure of your value is the tangible contribution that God produces through you on a daily basis.  You have not prayed enough in the past, studied enough previously, or served enough before now.  No matter what God has done through you or what He accomplished with you in the past, you’re never too good to roll up your sleeves, get dirty and do the grunt work.  No job is ever too menial, no task ever too unskilled or boring.  Remarkably successful people never feel entitled–except to the fruits of their labor.  What we do is insignificant in comparison to what God does to make it acceptable and successful.  God just allows us to participate with Him in what He is doing.  When we give our time and effort to what God desires done, then our efforts have merit.  Never  boast of your time spent for activity if it does not bear God’s blessings of success upon it.

4. Experience is irrelevant. Accomplishments are everything.

You may have “20 years in the ministry.” Whoopee. It does not matter how long you’ve been doing what you do. Years of service indicate little to nothing; what does matter is our effectiveness in the ministry God has placed at our hands.  It matters little where you have been; how many struggles you’ve faced, how many heartaches you have suffered, … all that matters is if the grace of God has been able to use you for His glory.

Successful people don’t need to describe themselves using hyperbolic adjectives like passionate, innovative, driven, etc. They can just describe, hopefully in a humble way, what they’ve seen the hand of God do.  Success will be celebrated by those who appreciate you.

5. Failure is something I accomplish; it doesn’t just happen to me.

Ask people why they have been successful. Their answers will be filled with personal pronouns: I, me, and the sometimes too occasional we.

Ask them why they failed. Most will revert to childhood and instinctively distance themselves, like the kid who says, “My toy got broken…” instead of, “I broke my toy.”

They’ll say the economy tanked. They’ll say the market wasn’t ready. They’ll say their suppliers couldn’t keep up.  They’ll say it was the system, someone or something else.  And by distancing themselves, they don’t learn from their failures.  Occasionally something completely outside your control will cause you to fail.  Most of the time, it is we who have failed. And that’s okay. Every successful person has failed. Numerous times! Most of them have failed a lot more often than you. Often times God has to humble us through failure before we learn that it truly is His work and not ours.

Embrace every failure: Own it, learn from it, and take full responsibility for making sure that next time, things will turn out differently.  Pray more, plan more, strategize more, learn more from successful individuals.

6. Volunteers always win.

Whenever you raise your hand you wind up being asked to do more.

That’s great. Doing more is an opportunity: to learn, to impress, to gain skills, to build new relationships–to do something more than you would otherwise been able to do.

Success is based on action. The more you volunteer, the more you get to serve.  Successful people give of themselves.  They give to good causes, they give of their time and energy to good purposes.  Successful people step forward to create opportunities, they face challenges and discover solutions.  Remarkably successful people sprint forward with a spirit of faith.

7. If I am paid I will serve.

When you are driven by monetary motivation alone you are an island to yourself.  Do what God has called you to do and do it with excellence, knowing that the only true value is what God puts into the equation.   Going the extra mile is the norm for the Child of God.  Serving is our nature because Christ set the example.  Find what you enjoy doing most and give your best to make it successful.  Be willing to do more than is required and you will build a reputation that will be honorable.

8. Only the people who pay me have the right to tell me what to do.

Get over your cocky, pretentious, I-must-be-free-to-express-my-individuality self.   You may be that way on your own private time.  Servant-hood is a way of life, it is accepting your role of serving others with pleasure and gratitude.  People who pay you earn the right to dictate what you do and how you do it–sometimes down to the last detail.  When you give beyond what is expected it builds character.

9. The extra mile is a vast, unpopulated wasteland.

Most everyone will say they go the extra mile. Almost no one actually does. The extra mile is such a lonely place.  What you do when no one is looking will speak louder than everything else that you do.  The extra mile is a place filled with opportunities.  Be early. Stay late. Make the extra phone call. Send the extra email. Do the extra research.  Don’t wait to be asked; offer.  Show diligence.  Accept the fact that you different, because God has redeemed you and given you a heart to serve others.  Your serving is an expression of your devotion to God.  Jesus set the benchmark, therefore strive for excellence.

 

Larry Biggers, Sr. Pastor

Northside Worship Center

Step Out, Sacrifice, Simply Obey

Most everyone who is involved with or heard of Teen Challenge knows the story of David Wilkerson from the book, “The Cross and the Switchblade.” When David Wilkerson was just a 26 year old preacher he heard God calling him to sell his TV and spend the last two hours of each day in prayer. To his surprise, the next day he sold the TV for the exact price that he had in mind for it. Then he began to spend his nights in prayer and seeking the Lord. David Wilkerson had no idea that not only would this time in prayer change his life but it would also forever change history.

Michael Farmer Teen Challenge Life Magazine19 days into this new experiment he had a radical encounter with the Lord when he saw a Life magazine article about a young boy named Michael Farmer who was killed by a gang in New York City. As he looked at the article he heard the Lord speak to his heart that he was supposed to go help those boys. The thought would not go away. It filled his heart with such an unction that the very next night he stood in front of his small country church to try and raise enough money to drive to New York City and help the boys in the gang. He had such an encounter that suddenly he was filled with a boldness and a passion for pursuing the unknown. He now had an unnatural measure of courage because he had a word from God that had possessed him.

There are some really amazing observations that I want to make from this story and also I want to talk about how this story can really apply to our lives today. I see that first of all David Wilkerson was willing to step out and sell his TV. I also notice that he was willing to sacrifice and give up an extended period of time each night to be with The Lord. Lastly, I see that he was simply obedient with the word that the Lord gave him. These three things all brought David Wilkerson to a place where he was positioned to receive a word from Heaven that would not only change him but all of history. We are called to change history and impact the world around us.

What separates those who simply exist and those who change history are those who are willing to do the following:

  1. Step OutStep out

Many times God calls us to do things that are really unusual. When we listen to him this opens up the ability for Him to break into the everyday and ordinary places of our lives. We can become so complacent and comfortable and it is in these times that he challenges our faith and brings us to new places. We must be willing to step out if we want to step into the destiny that God has for us as world-changers.

This is demonstrated to us through the story of Peter when he steps out onto the water towards Jesus. That act of faith is what separated him from every other person that was in that boat. All of the men in the boat were disciples of Christ but Peter stood out because he was willing to step out. We see the fruit of this willingness in Acts Chapter two when he is the first to step out and boldly proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven to those in Jerusalem. The church was birthed because of Peter’s willingness to step out. God is calling each of us to do the same!

  1. Sacrifice

Everything great that we do in life requires that we sacrifice other “good” things for the greater. We make sacrifices and choices every single day on the way we spend our time. We may sacrifice time watching a football game to be with our kids or sacrifice our relationships with friends to pursue a deeper relationship with our fiancé. Sacrifice is natural and is something that we all do each and every day. Every decision we make in life bears fruit in our lives. When we are willing to sacrifice some “good” things in our life for the better things that God is calling us to is when we begin to step into our destiny as world changers.

We can see an example of this in the life of John the Baptist. He was set apart as a forerunner of the coming messiah even while he was still in his mothers womb. Even though he had angels tell his mother that he was to be especially set apart from birth he still had to make a choice whether or not to comply. He was set apart in a Nazarite type vow and chose not to partake of certain things because God had a special plan and a special purpose for his life. Because of his obedience in this and making such a huge sacrifice he got one of the coolest privileges in all of history… He got to baptize Jesus! God has huge plans for each of us and when we are willing to sacrifice the good for the best then we are able to step into them.

  1. Simply ObeySimply Obey

Once we have pressed in through sacrifice and stepped out God will eventually give us a word that will not only change us but will also possess us. This is what happened to David Wilkerson. He waited on the Lord until he had been given a word that absolutely possessed him and drove him along the path of his destiny in Christ. After we have received the word it is important that we practice simple obedience and do what God has shown us to do. When we begin to walk in this simple obedience to his word then we will begin to see greater miracles than we ever could have imagined!

When Jesus told the man to go wash in the river to receive healing the man practiced simple obedience by going and washing even though it made no sense at all. Because of his simple obedience to Jesus he was healed of blindness as recorded in John 9. This man’s simple obedience led to an astounding miracle! When we walk in simple obedience to the Holy Spirit we will see even greater things in our lives.

I believe that God is calling each of us to consider how He might be calling us to step out and where we can make sacrifices. He has even greater things for our life than we could ever even imagine but sometime we are too complacent to find out what these things might be. I feel like He is calling each of us to take some time to consider what He might be calling us to do. I can only wonder what might happen if the body of Christ began to set aside 2 hours each night like David Wilkerson did for those 19 days. The Lord is just waiting for people who are willing to step out, sacrifice and simply obey.

Testimony – Shoulder/ Elbow Healed!

Last thursday I was at a local Teen Challenge Thrift Store grand opening and saw God do something miraculous while waiting in line. I wanted to share this story because I really think it will be an encouragement to others to allow God to use them more in every day situations and also to show how amazing our God is!

The line at the grand opening was really long because so many people had come to see the new store and show support for Teen Challenge. I found a couple of items I liked and eventually got in the line knowing I would probably be waiting for quite some time. As I waited I started talking to the woman who was right in front of me. She began to share with me about her life, her kids and where she was from. Her name was Gladys. 

When I first began talking to her I felt like the Holy Spirit spoke to me in a quiet whisper and simply said the word, “Elbow.” I remember thinking to myself that maybe God was trying to tell me that I should pray for this woman’s elbow but thought that was just craziness or some weird idea I had. I hate to admit it but I kinda just ignored it and kept talking to this woman for the next 15 minutes or so. 

Suddenly while talking with her it’s as if the Holy Spirit got my attention and reminded me again with one simple word. The word he said was, “Elbow” and that was it. (It’s kinda funny looking back at it now…) I had no other clues or anything; just a simple word. So finally I got the hint and asked her with a smile if her elbow was hurting. She stopped with shock and said, “Yes! and my shoulder has been really bothering me too!” I told her I felt like God told me that her elbow was hurting and asked if I could maybe pray for her. At this moment the other shoppers around were just staring at me like I was a crazy person.

I put my hand on her shoulder and began to pray out loud. I commanded her shoulder in Jesus name to be healed and for all pain to leave. As I was praying I literally began to feel something underneath her skin move. Her shoulder did not move, her arm did not move… It was something in her skin that seemingly popped up and literally moved my hand. In shock I backed up and asked her, “Did you feel that???” She was shocked and told me yes. Then she began to move her arm around and started crying. She said that all the pain in her shoulder and elbow was completely gone!photo

Once that happened another woman who was also in line began to shout, “Thank you Jesus!!!” I began to agree with her and so did Gladys who had just been healed by God. Right there in this line, with everyone watching we all began to shout and praise God! We started to have “church” right there in that line and Jesus was made famous in front of everyone who was in that line. Afterwards she told me she was so thankful because now she could go home and get some work done. She told me that she was so blessed because she was reminded that God cared so much for her and that He saw every need that she had. 

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well…

James 5:15

addiction ends with love

Addiction Ends With Love

These past few months have been really exciting as I have been working with a co-worker, Deric Cain, and a few others in developing a new tool to reach people struggling with addictions and also those who want to help make a difference. The With Love Movement was created several years ago by Dustin Nance and Mike McGarvey as a collaborative effort to help recruit and send people to help with efforts to end addiction worldwide through the ministry of Teen Challenge. Recently it has been adapted and changed into an even bigger concept and we just recently launched a new website. I wanted to share this website and ultimately would LOVE for as much feedback as possible. Please comment below or send me an email if you have comments, suggestions and especially if you see spelling errors… 🙂

addiction ends with love

Here are 2 Reasons why I’m excited about The With Love Movement

1. Its going to speak to those that are struggling.

Most websites geared towards addiction look like hospital websites because addiction is so widely believed to be an illness and we hope to create something that will really speak to people that are using drugs. We want to write everything on there level and speak to them from a place of compassion and understanding. In the website and in other materials we are producing we are going to offer With Love letters from people who have overcome addictions. These letters are written from former addicts to people who may be dealing with an addiction and they all carry a message of hope. Our goal is to simply let people know that there is hope for them!

I have several friends who have died even in the last few months of a drug overdose. I am sick of watching people die because they have given up on the thought that there is hope for them. We need to give them a message of HOPE.

2. It gives other people a chance to make a difference.

A lot of people aren’t aware of things like the fact that currently drug overdoses are the #1 reason for accidental deaths in America. We hope to help get out information that will create an awareness of how BIG this issue is right now. The drug problem worldwide is only snowballing and getting worse and worse. When people discover this truth then most of them want desperately to do something. Our goal is to help provide opportunities for people to make a difference in their community. We want them to have materials to hand out in the communities and be able to come do a seminar in their city that will help provide hope. We also want to help direct people to places where they can volunteer or work in the US and even internationally through our Global Internships program.

Check it out!

Take a few minutes and go check out this new website that we recently made. Please leave comments here about what you think and be sure the SHARE this on all your social media outlets. 

Click Here to check out ADDICTIONENDSWITHLOVE.COM

Alive in Christ

The following is a guest post from my friend Daniel Williams. I know that you will be blessed and encouraged by this thought provoking post that he wrote for my blog…

As a Trinitarian believer, I can easily “combine” God, Jesus and the Spirit and consider them as one entity without any need of distinction in my mind. However, without recognizing their unique distinctions, we cannot behold the awe and wonder of each one of their glorious roles. Giving distinction to their individual works lets us be amazed and in awe of each one of them. And lets face it, as dusty finite creatures (Ps. 103:14) trying to understand an infinitely glorious God, we need all the help we can get. I have to say that you shouldn’t go too far in this, because God is one is essence, just in three persons. We do not worship three separate Gods (Gen. 6:4). Also, don’t let discouragement creep in whenever you get confused by trying to grasp the Trinity. Our lack of understanding should nudge us towards awe, not frustration. No one ever has, and no one ever will be able to fully grasp the Trinity (except maybe one day in heaven). However, we can gain a useful understanding from the Bible. That being said, let’s get blown away from the person of Jesus! John 1:1 states,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In him was life.”

It is no secret that this passage is about Jesus. This verse from John tells us that Jesus is God’s “agent” of creation, if you will—the Word of God in action, and that He is the source of all life. It also presents the pre-existence of Jesus (He was not created, He was the key agent in God’s creative actions). Read Colossians 1 if you want to be even more blown away by Jesus’ role in this universe.

It was with this passage (John 1:1) echoing around in my head that another passage I have read many times came to new life in my spirit. It was Ephesians 2:4- “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our sins, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”

alive

Jesus IS life.

To fully embrace this verse in all of it’s glory, we have to really grasp what it means to be dead in our sins. This passage begs the question: If I was spiritually dead, then when exactly did I die? To get the answer, we must go back to the beginning. Everything comes back to Genesis, the book that means origins. When we look at Genesis 2:7, we read that “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” Then, later on God told them “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

As you well know, Adam and Eve disobeyed God, ate of the tree, and became spiritually dead, and separated from God. The everyday world around us is proof of this reality. Although they did not physically die instantly (because God is merciful), this spiritual death did “leak” into their physical bodies and cause them to physically die as well. But I want to focus on the much deeper death that occurred. This life and death that we are talking about is a spiritual life and death.

When God breathed this “breath of life” God breathed into Adam an ability to know Him fully, and to be in a relationship with Him in the garden. I believe God used (in a way that we cannot fully comprehend) the pre-incarnate Jesus (Jesus before he became a physical man on earth) to breathe this life into Adam. God breathed Jesus into Adam and it made him alive. However, ever since Adam and Eve sinned and spiritually died themselves, humanity has been starved of the sweet breath of Jesus. Thank God for the life-giving, soul-reviving, making-alive ministry of Jesus!

In the same way God breathed Jesus into Adam before he had life, we who were once dead in this present age God has breathed Jesus into us as well, making us alive in Christ Jesus. God planned it, and Jesus executes it. Jesus is God’s actions manifested in this world. Everyone who is in Christ has been given this same breath of life by God through Jesus Christ, awakened from their spiritually dead state. (This is why your old friends may not understand the changes happening in you). In the same way, I’m sure it was awkward for Lazarus to meet people who did not believe that Jesus was a miracle worker. Maybe if Lazarus had seen AMC’s “The Walking Dead” he could recreate his resurrection scene for some of them. How do you explain life transformation? How do you explain being raised from the dead to newness of life? I can guarantee a couple things:  Lazarus didn’t say that it was his own will power that he came back to life, nor that he chose to get out of the grave himself because he was only “slightly dead” (for you Princess Bride fans). That would be…inconceivable! You see, dead people can’t really make decisions. They are hopelessly…well…dead. It is only by the sovereignty, power, and authority of Jesus Christ that anyone has life. Could you imagine the look on Lazarus’ face if someone came up to him after his resurrection and said, ‘Hey man, good job in there, you were awesome!’ ? Well, in the same way, it would be just as ludicrous in saying that we brought ourselves back to life. God does everything for His glory. He has to direct attention to himself to save hopeless people. Jesus is the all-powerful, planet breathing, sunset painting, molder of all life. He is not Mr. Rodgers with a beard.

If you are in Christ, you are a living, breathing miracle, and you have been given the same life that God breathed into Adam by Jesus in the garden of Eden, and are free to enjoy the friendship of God. If you are not “in” Christ (a believer and follower of Him), you are being allowed by Jesus that very breath you just took so that you might come to know Him. Everyone who is “in Christ” has been miraculously given the greatest gift of all: Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

The Word of God is verb, not a noun. Jesus is God’s Word in action.

Also, consider another aspect of the passage of Gen. 2:7: “The Lord God…breathed.” 2 Timothy 3:16 says “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” And what is Scripture? Scripture is the Word of God—the Bible. The connections are really starting to make sense. Hopefully John 1 still hasn’t left you yet: “the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It is also important to note that in theology 101 you learn that the inspiration of the Bible literally means that it is “God-breathed.” Simply amazing! So, God breathed into Adam the breath of life (Jesus) and the Word of God (Jesus as well). When God speaks, Jesus is what comes out of His mouth. Also, with that in mind, isn’t it interesting that Jesus is the light of the world? What is the first thing God spoke in creation? “And God said, ‘Let there be light.’” Jesus—just a good teacher? I think He is much more…

 Response? Mind. Blown.

So what do we do with all this? I believe that God through Jesus goes through all this to simply win our hearts to Him, and to let our lives bring glory to His name. I believe that our number one priority in response to this knowledge is awe-inspired love and worship for Jesus. It is absolutely impossible to overstate the wonder and glory of what we have from God in Christ Jesus. Knowing that God, through Jesus, is the one who has made us alive from death should trigger a “WOW!” somewhere in your heart. Jesus is the creative avenue that God used to create everything in the world. Jesus is the Lord of this universe and this world. Jesus is the resuscitator our souls. Jesus is a miracle-factory within Himself. Jesus is amazing, and our best, most intelligent attempt at describing Him (including this article) falls incomprehensibly short of the totality of His glory. Our view of Jesus should be ever-expanding and increasing in His glory and wonder. Jesus is huge. As the hymn writer Charles H. Gabriel pinned the words, “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene.” Or the word of Stuart K. Hine, “Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!”
That’s “How great you are!” in modern language.

Jesus went through suffering and torment, bearing our sins upon His shoulders so that we would have life in Him. Paul said in Acts 17:28, “for in him we live and move and have our being.”

Walk in this knowledge as your enjoy creation, as you work unto the Lord at your job, as you commune with God as Adam and Eve did in the garden of Eden, knowing and trusting that you also have the Spirit of God within you to lead you and guide you, and to give you power for His witness. Walk in wonder. Gaze at His beauty. Go deep into the awe of knowing Jesus, the lover of your soul. This life that Jesus has given us is a tree that bears fruit of everything good and worthwhile in this world.

-Daniel Williams

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Daniel Williams is an amazing friend of mind and a co-worker from the Teen Challenge Regional office in Columbus, GA. He has a passion for serving God, loving others and has a calling to teach the word of God all over the world.