Daniel Foster | @danielfoster07
Growing up, Halloween was always one of my favorite holidays. Not because of the demons and miniature devils running around, but because it was the one day of the year I could be something other than myself. Superman, a Ninja Turtle, the red Power Ranger, I could be just about anything I wanted.
As I grew older though, I realized we never really quit dressing up. Especially as Christians, we walk around 365 days a year wearing these masks and try our absolute best at hiding who we really are. We walk into church every Sunday morning with these great big smiles, hiding the hurt, discouragement, or depression we may be battling with on the inside.
This is mostly because the church culture has made us believe that in order to walk through the doors and be accepted, we have to have our lives put together. But that’s not what church is about. That’s not what the Gospel is about. The Gospel is good news for everyone, not just those who are already good, those who have their entire lives together, or those who have all their ducks in a row. It’s for those whose lives are a disaster, those who don’t even know where their ducks are.
Matthew 11:28 says “Come to Me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
In this passage, I believe Jesus is saying come to Him wherever you are. Not once you are righteous and have it all figured out. Take off the masks you are wearing and quit acting like you have everything together, when the truth is, you don’t. Come to church as you are, with pain, addictions, depression, or whatever else you may be carrying, and lay them at the feet of Jesus. The healing begins when you remove your mask.
Daniel Foster comes from the outskirts of Atlanta. He serves on staff at DeVotie Baptist Church where he is the student pastor. Daniel is a fan of the Georgia Bulldogs and the Atlanta Braves. You can find him on Twitter at @danielfoster07.
Cipriano Martinez | @Ciprianom79
As Christian believers, many times we put trust in ourselves and try and choose our own direction or what the Bible calls "our own path". Some of these times we might get lucky and choose the right direction or path but many of these selfish decisions lead us into a destination we did not mean to go to. We may even ask ourselves, “How did I get here?" or "Where am I?” Where ever you may be and you find yourself lost or confused the question is where did you go to get your directions?
My wife and I take many trips throughout the year - some business, some pleasure. No matter what kind of trip it may be we are never too familiar with the area we are in and more times than not, we have to revert to the handy dandy GPS. The GPS is designed to get us wherever we need to go at the command of our finger tips. But as the head of the household and spiritual leader, I often seem to know better than the GPS. Even though I asked my wife to put in the coordinates of the location, knowing I have no earthly idea how to get there, I still argue with this machine and its uploaded technology. When I decide to ignore Miss GPS and go my own direction I find myself making many unneeded U-turns and maybe even end in a ditch or dark alley somewhere. The GPS knows best because it is programmed to know the easiest routes to take.
I hope many of you can relate. Surely I’m not the only one in the world who argues with smart hi-tech gadgets.
Aaron Jeffries | @arjeffries1
Did you know God is for you? Often I forget this simple yet profound truth. Life becomes messy, I fail Him and yet He is still for me. I’m not always perfect in fact, I’m far from it. This week on my Facebook I posted “Troubled believer, rest easy tonight. The Lord is your Shepherd; You shall not want.” I feel like this message needs to be echoed this week. What ever you’re going through, please don’t lose hope. Cling to the Shepherd and He will guide you.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Psalms 23:1-6 KJV
Jeff Weddle | @anti_icher
There’s a poster at my kid’s school that shows a cat leaping from a couch to a table with a fish bowl on it. I doubt the cat can jump that far, but the poster says “Believe in yourself and you can do anything!” So, I guess the cat can jump that far.
This poster makes me wonder, “Can cats really believe in themselves?” I guess it’s possible, but I wonder what a cat who believes in himself really believes.
“Oh sure, I can jump that far! No problem because I’m Super Cat! Jumper of really far spaces! Nothing can stop me from eating that fish. I believe I can make it and I believe I can eat that fish! Woohoo! Let’s do this thing!” And off he leaps into the air, already tasting fresh fish.
I had a cat once. She was really dumb. She didn’t come when you called her. She clawed up furniture and puked everywhere. Maybe if she had believed in herself more, she could have made it to the cat box regularly.
Ellen Martin | @EllenMartin03
I’m currently working as a nanny to pay my way through school. The family I work with has two adopted children. Today, I was feeding the baby and thought “How amazing is it that she is so incredibly loved, even though she is not with her birth parents?” I then realized that God loves us even more than a parent loves their children.
God originally called the Israelites, or the Jews, to follow Him. The entire Bible is an amazing love story of God chasing after His chosen people, but that is a discussion for another time. When Jesus came, He called the Gentiles, the rest of us, to follow Him. Although I am not an Israelite, I am still loved by the King, and so are you.
Paul talks about our adoption in Christ in Ephesians 1:3-10 (ESV):
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
Joseph Brazil | @blackdog575
Imagine for a moment getting in your car and driving 60 miles an hour for 177 years without stopping. No time for pit stops, no diversionary sightseeing. This amounts to roughly two lifetimes spent in a car driving the speed limit one way. That’s how long it would take someone to drive to the Sun. Or, to hear Louis Giglio tell it, if Earth was the size of a golf ball in relation to the Sun, you could cram a school bus full with Earths in-between. And guess what. The Sun isn’t even the largest star in our galaxy. Simply put, we were designed by a BIG God.
So why do the wheels fall off whenever we find ourselves in the middle of life’s storms?
Did you know that God has programmed your body to create 25,000,000 new cells… every second! That means every 13 seconds your body churns out more cells than there are people in the United States. By the time it takes you to read this article, your body will have created 4,500,000,000 new cells. The human body is only one example in an entire world filled with intelligent design.
What makes us forget, then, that He’s in charge when the weight of the world becomes too heavy to carry?
Janice EIcholtz | @JanJanMom
John 8:3-11 is one of my favorite references to the teachings of Christ in the Bible. What basically happens is that a whole group of Pharisees come to Jesus with a woman who is actually caught in the act of adultery. The penalty, for her at least, was to be stoned to death. They asked, "What shall we do with her?" Jesus answered that one who had not sinned should cast the first stone. Eventually, all of her accusers vanished.
Why is this my favorite teaching? It reminds me. Reminds me that I deserve punishment, but I am forgiven. It reminds me not to be quick to stone someone else for their sins. The message of Christ is mercy. God is love and God is mercy. It is HIS WILL that NONE should perish.
Okay, so there is the story. What does it mean? Sometimes, I think we learn scripture, can quote it even... but it never actually sinks into our hearts. I'm asking you to let those things sink in your heart.
I consider these my Christian guidelines, along with the MAJOR command: Love your neighbor as yourself. So, now, a real life application for me: