Spirit Filled Poems/Songs

I truly enjoy writing. I know God has given me this gift and from a fairly young age I’ve enjoyed it. Sometimes though, God places on my heart poems or songs. Today was one of those days. I just want to share with you a couple of poems/songs the Lord has given me over the last year of walking with Him. 

Rescued-Written August 29th,2012

Climbing, Climbing, 
The rocks my hands reach for are falling down. 
Falling, Falling.
The good works I based my life on, are tumbling to the ground. 
I can see the light pouring out through the opening, if only I could make it to the top. 
I want to reach the light but I’m stumbling. 
Yeah I’m stumbling through this darkness.
I want to experience the light outside of this pit.
But because of my pride I keep trying to climb, trying to climb on my own.
 The harder I try, the more the rocks beneath my feet and the rocks my hands grasp, give way.
Now I’m in the bottom of this pit, trying to just stay alive.
My body’s cut and bruised and I’m dying. 
The light seems so far away.
The voices around me tell me I’m worthless, nothing but a fool.
Yes I’m dying in this pit.
Yes I’m dying in this pit.
Darkness surrounds me, my last breaths are fading.
With my final breaths I cry out, Jesus help me, Jesus help me.
I’m tired of living in this pit and I want to experience the light. 
And at that moment, a mighty rushing wind and fire came down into the pit. 
And a hand reached out and grabbed me.
Away from the voices of death and the voices of condemnation.
And it pulled me through the darkness and soon I saw the light.
I burst forth from the darkness and experienced the light.
The hand put me down on the ground and said, “You are free. You are free. In the name of Jesus Christ you are free.”
As I looked around, all I saw was hope and purpose. 
The life that once brought me death and depression, is now bringing me joy and peace and rest.
Thank you Jesus, Lord and Savior.
You heard my cry and helped me in my distress.
Thank you Jesus, and now forever I will praise and worship Your Holiness. 
With One-Written February 27th, 2013

With one word You heal us and with one hand You lift us up.
With one breath You breathe into us and with one voice You speak to us.
With one cross You saved and redeemed us and with one body You were beaten and torn apart.
With one crown of thorns You were mocked and spit upon and with one cry You lifted Your Spirit up.
With one resurrection You defeated the enemy and with one triumphant departure from the tomb, You set the prisoner free. 
With one act of love You freed us from our sins.
You gave us one hope, one purpose, all from the One, Jesus.
Jesus You’re the One, the only one for me. 
In my darkness You knew You were the only One for me.
You’re the only One Jesus, You’re the One who set me free. 
Thank you Jesus for doing this all for me.
You’re the only One who could set my spirit free. 
Have a blessed day,
Joseph.

Life is like a Snickers Bar

Hello and good morning. This blog post comes from a thought I had  a while ago while stocking a shelf with snickers bars while at work.

Its crazy to me how God can use the simplest objects in normal situations to teach me profound lessons. In this case He used a snickers bar.

I know we’ve all heard the old saying, “Life is like a box of chocolates” from Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump. Today I want to play off that idea a little bit and show you the difference between satisfaction and fulfillment.

I know we’ve all seen the snicker’s commercials. “Snickers Satisfies,” “You’re not you when you eat a snickers.” When I picked up one that day, I read on the back “Satisfies.” And then God began to teach me something through a snickers bar. I know, crazy right? God began to show me that sin is like a snickers bar, it satisfies for the moment and gives you a burst of energy in the moment. After though, you are left drained and  lethargic. Am I saying that eating a snickers is sinful? No. I eat tons of snickers and they are one of my favorite candies. God wants to replace our “satisfaction” with “fulfillment though.

Eating snickers every now and again is alright, but what if you ate snickers all the time? What if snickers became your main course? You would get sick, very very sick. You would feel awful all the time. You’d always be trying to eat more snickers to feel better. That’s what sin and worldly pleasures are. They are a momentary burst of energy, a momentary pleasure. When its all said and done though we are left broken, hopeless, depressed and for what? We tried to fill our fulfillment in satisfaction. Did you catch that one? We can never be fulfilled in things that are passing away and momentary things.

Fulfillment though is more like having a full meal. We are not only left satisfied but fulfilled because there are meats and vegetables. God wants us to not only be satisfied but fulfilled and we can only do that through Him. He knows the worldly pleasures are just junk food and that we really need meat, His Word and vegetables, Daily Prayer, and things like carbohydrates and proteins, things like community and fellowship, and accountability and discipleship. All these things lead to joy, hope, peace, purpose. These lead to fulfillment.

So when you are faced today with going for an option of junk food (worldly pleasure) over a full course meal, remind yourself that sin is only satisfying for a little while. God’s meal that He wants to give us though, is teeming with fruitful and prosperous fulfillment that only He can bring us.

“Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.”
(Revelation 3:20)  

Jesus is ready to fulfill you in every way you could ever have imagined. Are you ready to stop trying to fulfill your life in ways that are only satisfactory? The God of the Universe is waiting for you today. He wants to sit down and have dinner with you!

Have a blessed day ya’ll,
Joseph.

Thoughts about Words

Words. They can be encouraging or destructive. Words can be life saving, or life depleting. Words can be a blessing or words can be a curse. Words can affirm you or words can shake you to your very core. Words came bring much joy or they can fill you with shame. The old saying, “sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me,” its just not true. Words can be the most destructive thing, the most lethal weapons coming from a person. Words strike to the very core, the very soul of you.  In the book of James chapter 3, James the author talks about the power of the tongue and of words.

“Not many should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive a stricter judgment, for we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a mature man who is also able to control his whole body.

Now when we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide the whole animal. And consider ships: Though very large and driven by fierce winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how large a forest a small fire ignites. And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell.

Every sea creature, reptile, bird, or animal is tamed and has been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. We praise our Lord and Father with it, and we curse men who are made in God’s likeness with it. Praising and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers, these things should not be this way. Does a spring pour out sweet and bitter water from the same opening? Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a saltwater spring yield fresh water.” (James 3:1-12).

James begins to describe the tongue as a very small. He talks about how men control horses with bits and ships with rudders but that no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, a fire, that if we are not careful, will set the whole course of our life on fire. James goes on to say that with our tongue we praise the Father but with it we also curse men. James asks how can this be. Cursing and praise should not come out of the same mouth. “Does a spring pour out sweet and bitter water from the same opening? Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a saltwater spring yield fresh water.” Cursing and praising are complete opposites. James is warning believers to be careful not to disregard the tongue because of its physical smallness. Even though it is small, it is very powerful.
Words used to rule my life. Words that people had uttered, curses that had been placed on me. These words controlled me and my view of myself in a very negative way. Then I learned about God’s words and His words were placed in my heart. These words were uplifting and encouraging, affirming and courageous. 
“The words of the Lord are pure words,
  like silver refined in an earthen furnace,
  purified seven times.”(Psalm 12:6)

God’s word is sharper than any two edged sword, it is redeeming and it is powerful. The words of the Lord changed my life. Words of love and not condemnation. Words of peace and not of conflict. Words of joy and not of sorrow. Words of hope and of purpose.
Have a blessed day ya’ll.
Fill your hearts with His Words always. Meditate on them day and night and remember them,
Joseph.

Wrestling and Surrendering

Something inside me always seems to want to fight what I’m told because I don’t trust or agree with the authority. Whether it be my parents or teachers or managers I’m usually thinking differently. When it comes to God its sometimes even worse. I feel like Jacob sometimes wrestling with God and not letting Him go until He gives me that answer. Today was something like that. 
I came into work tired after a rigorous, grueling week of school. I didn’t wanna be there and i was tired of the customers snide comments. I was ready to move jobs and get out of this world. I wanted to go into my holy huddle with my fellow Christians and just shut out this world. God just then though brought to mind something from the following weekend. 
Over the weekend a guy from the retreat told me about encountering a coworker of mine a couple years ago. She began to tell him about something her mother had told her. So he asked me to pray for her. So I have been and today I came up to her and did something I’ve never done. 
I came up to this lady and told her what I had heard. Then I began tell her about curses and how some things that people say can put a curse on us without even knowing it. So I repeated what I had heard my christian counselor say before. “I renounce this curse in the name of Jesus Christ.” As I repeated those words the tears began to flow from her eyes and I could feel the curse being lifted from her. I went on to encourage her with the facts that Jesus loved her and that He had great plans for her life.
In that moment I knew I was supposed to stay in my job, to continue to lift curses off of people in the name of Jesus Christ. He was the only one that could lift the curses off people but I was His empty vessel that He would use. Even as I wrestled with Christ against not doing what He wanted me to do, I knew exactly that He wanted me to continue to work at this place. So I surrendered once again to his plans and His plans are the best. 
Have a blessed night ya’ll,
Joseph. 

The Greatest Love Story of All Time

All my life, love has been a mystery. A mystery that was maddening even angering. I had been rejected by tons of girls and in seventh grade I was sexually assaulted in the church by a couple older guy students. Love in my mind had been twisted, perverted, and ripped apart from a very young age and as I got older it got even worse.  Every time I reached out and loved I was rejected and cast aside. So eventually I quit reaching out and started hating love and people that were in love. Valentines Day was a constant reminder of the fact that I had no true friends or people that loved me and that I was going to be alone the rest of my life. Even people that tried to reach out to me I pushed them away because of all the times I’d been betrayed and hurt. Last year though someone reached out to me. His name is Jesus Christ. 
All my life Jesus had been pursuing me, patiently waiting for an opportunity to speak love and truth into my life. The more He pursued the more I ran because I didn’t trust Him. After all the times I had been hurt I trusted no one, not even the God of the Universe. Why would He want anything to do with me I though? I’m tired of following His rules I thought. So I ran far, far away. He kept pursuing though with patience not throwing Himself on me but constantly showing me His love through people. Last year as I sat defeated and hopeless in the mud, He came and sat with me. He didn’t condemn me but from the raspy words of an atheist manager, Jesus Christ held His hand out to me. After running for years He had finally caught up to me. 
Over that last year I had attended a year long Bible Study unwillingly by the direction of my parents. I came in every Tuesday night and went and sat at a table by my myself. I didn’t want anything to do with these people or their Jesus. But every Tuesday they approached the table and looked into my glazed over eyes and shared with me the love of Jesus Christ. I continued pushing them away but they never stopped loving me with the love of Jesus Christ. The more I pushed them away the more love came. My guards began to come down and for the first time in a long time I began to trust. I kept waiting for the rejection and condemnation but it never came. 
So when Jesus Christ reached His hand down into my life, I reached up and took hold of His hand. I trusted that He loved me and wouldn’t fail me. Every sense in my body screamed not to trust Him, to not trust anyone but I disregarded those. That day January 6th, 2012, Jesus Christ pulled me up from the mud. He opened my eyes to His Word and brought light to them. He showed me that He had been there sitting with me through everything. Through the sexual assault, through the dying of relatives, through the days I sat in my room, He had always been there. Christ had already showed me the greatest love and sacrifice of all by coming to this earth and dying on the cross for my sins so that I’d be able to have a personal relationship with Him. He died for me even though I pushed Him away and ran from Him. He died for me even though I sinned against Him and cursed His name. He sat by my side for many years, even though I didn’t know it. He sat in my room, in my schools, in my life and He waited. 

“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited.” 
(1 Corinthians 13:4).

God’s love toward me was patient, it was kind. He pursued me to the ends of the earth. He ran to the edge of the cliff and called out to me as I was about to jump, seeing no hope and no purpose. He showed me His love that day and has continued to show me what true love is. God’s love towards me will never end, it will last forever. He will never leave or forsake me. Like all those people that have betrayed my trust and all those people that have twisted my view of love, God will never leave me or betray me. 
“Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for languages, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.”(1 Corinthians 13:8). Christ’s love is over all things. “It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

So Valentines Day 2013 even though I am still single, I am no longer depressed and alone. I am loved and beloved by the God of the Universe, the God who created this world. He has fulfilled me and loved me in every way I have ever wanted. So don’t fret this Valentines Day if you feel alone because you are not. There is a Heavenly Father who is in your room, seeing everything that goes on. He wants to reveal His love to you completely and He will! He will give you love for others and you will stop hating love and people that are in love because you will know the origin of everlasting love, Jesus Christ. I can’t wait to one day share a loving, grace filled marriage with my future wife. Wherever she is God is preparing her and He is preparing me. 
Happy Valentines Day Ya’ll.
Live in God’s Love Daily, Expect it and Don’t Ever Forget it. 
Blessings, 
Joseph. 

Transformation of the Soul

It is truly amazing to see a person saved by the Lord. It is even more amazing though what God does to them after He saves them. He changes them and transforms them into the likeness of Him. He gives them eyes to see and ears to hear and love to love others with. My friend Jonathan truly is being transformed. 
Before two weeks ago this guy tried to carry all his past, his failures, his struggles on his shoulders. He was struggling, the weariness sounding in his voice. Two weeks ago though he gave up his burdens, his struggles, his past completely to the Lord. He has light in his eyes and laughter in his voice. He truly has been changed by the Lord from the music he listens to, to the time he wakes up in the morning. He is completely submitting himself to the Lord and the Lord is changing him. He was explaining to me what joy was a couple weeks ago, experiencing it for the very first time. He is reading God’s word and growing so much, growing in leaps and bounds. He asked the Lord to get up early and have energy to truly enjoy the mornings as God intended us to. He is not succumbing to his fleshly desires but he is battling and becoming that mighty warrior God is intending him to be. 
God doesn’t just one part of our lives, He wants all of us. When we give all of us to God he changes us. His desires and plans become our desires and plans. I have seen it in myself and I’m now seeing it happen in Jonathan. If you allow God He will completely change you from who you are now. He will bring you joy, peace, love, acceptance, self respect, confidence and so much more. He has created each one of us with a plan and a purpose. If you surrender to Christ, get ready. He will completely change you and everyone else around you by His love. He will give you passions for things you didn’t know you were passionate about. He will take you on the craziest adventure you could have ever hoped for: the transformation of your soul.

“We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
(2 Corinthians 3:18)

Have a blessed night,
Joseph. 

Becoming Like Infants

“At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to infants.” (Matthew 11:25)

What does this passage exactly mean? What is Jesus truly trying to tell us? This is a really bold and somewhat controversial passage. Jesus is thanking His father for hiding His truth from the intellectuals and the wise and instead revealing them to infants. There is another passage where Jesus again harps on this concept.
“Some people were even bringing infants to Him so He might touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. Jesus, however, invited them: “Let the little children come to Me, and don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:15-17).

The disciples who were with Jesus were trying to stop Jesus from healing these children. Jesus rebuked them though saying that those who are like little children will inherit the kingdom of God. He assures them that whoever does not welcome the kingdom like a little child will never enter it. 
So what does it mean to become like a little child? Does it mean to go back in time and unlearn everything we have learned? In a way, yes. Jesus came down as a little child, the perfect picture of humility and sincerity. In a way when approaching God we have to throw away all our pre-conceived notions of Him and hold out our hands like a child believing that God is there. We can try all day to prove God but to the people God hasn’t opened their eyes it is complete foolishness. It doesn’t make any sense that the God of the Universe came down to live here among us and then die on the cross. To followers of Christ, Jesus coming down as a baby in all of His sincerity and then dying on the cross to redeem us from our sins makes perfect sense because our eyes have been opened. 
I challenge you today to come to God with hands open believing that He is there. Believing with child like faith that He loves you and has a plan and a purpose for your life. Take away all the pre-conceived notions and thoughts you have of God and just come humbly to the Father asking God who He really is and what He really has in store for you. He will show you and He probably will be different than what you imagined. Once I came as a child I understood and I believed and trusted in Him. 
Have a blessed day,
Joseph. 

Indescribable Blessing

Wow what a weekend it has already been. I have been up at the Litchfield beach and golf resort for a men’s retreat with my church and it truly has been incredible. The whole weekend’s lessons have been on discipleship and walking through life with others with the strength and power of Jesus Christ. Today I got a chance to really participate in discipleship.

Today in the afternoon we were split up into teams and sent off to various areas of need. My group went to a home for troubled boys. All I wanted to do was to play basketball but God had way different, radical plans in mind.

Me and a friend came racing down the hill on our longboards, only to be met by some early age teenagers. One of them caught my attention; his name was Kyle. Kyle was a thirteen year old boy who had been expelled from various schools for stealing money from his teachers and cursing at them. Kyle took me all over his home showing me his room and the places that he liked to hang out at. Kyle told me about his favorite sports teams and his favorite activities. He likes the Celtics and loves to sing. One of his fellow friends at the home says he can sing better than Justin Beiber. He showed me the songs he wrote, and they were great.

Kyle is a good kid thrown into a bad situation with his parents being divorced and his dad physically abusing him as a boy. As we sat on the end of a dock at the home he began to tell me, “I don’t tell a lot of people this but I don’t ever get packages or letters.” He went on to explain that all the kids at the home got packages weekly but he never did. Tears began to form in my eyes because I understood what that loneliness and rejection, being cast aside feels like. Then he began to tell me, “I’ve been praying that one day God would give me an older brother. I want someone who will fight for me and stick up for me and someone who will take me to the movies.” In that moment I felt a really strange crazy feeling. “Well,” I said to him, “Today God has answered your prayers.” It was crazy. How could I keep this relationship with this younger kid, my new little brother, when I lived an hour and a half away in Charleston. But I knew this little kid needed someone in his life. I also promised him a long board that I didn’t know how I was going to afford.

“There are two things I want you to know,” I began to say to him as my feet dangled over the dock. “I want you to know that God has created you and that He has a plan and a purpose for your life. Secondly you will never be alone because God will always be there.” So I left this kid with only the promises I had made and a silver dollar that he had given me to remember him by. I left stunned by what had just happened. This was only the beginning though of what God was going to do.

Tonight I got up and shared about what Christ had done and God moved. I felt guilty about promising something I thought I wouldn’t be able to do but God was steadfast and moving strongly through the situation. Throughout the night, men from the retreat gave business cards and money and prayer and longboards for not only Kyle but also the other kids. I have 802 dollars, a free longboard and also a man who said he would buy the longboards himself for these kids. Holy Cow! God is amazing. His mercy is unfailing. His promise never fails. All I had was an idea from the Lord and He is fulfilling every single part of it. He has provided everything and more.

I’m truly overwhelmed at the moment by this indescribable blessing. God blesses our steps of faith in more abundant ways than we could ever realize! Glory and Honor be to the only wise King, the King of Kings, Jesus Christ.

A miracle happened today in Myrtle Beach, Sc. The miracle of men fighting and surrendering themselves before the Lord and giving as they have received. A miracle that God could use to change a lonely boys broken life. A boy that was thrown into the midst of adversity. A talented thirteen year old boy named Kyle.

Have a great and blessed night everyone,
Joseph.

Be Strong and Very Courageous

I came into this year waiting and praying but now I have seen the promise. How exactly do you take hold of a promise though? How do you prepare for it? As I was reading this morning I stumbled upon Joshua, the leader of Israel after the death of Moses. The Israelite’s had been wandering in the desert for forty years but finally the Lord had given them the opportunity to finally enter the promised land. And I believe what God says to Joshua in the book of Joshua chapter 1 is exactly how we are supposed to take hold of and prepare to take our promised land.

“After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, who had served Moses: “Moses My servant is dead. Now you and all the people prepare to cross over the Jordan to the land I am giving the Israelite’s.  I have given you every place where the sole of your foot treads, just as I promised Moses.  Your territory will be from the wilderness and Lebanon to the great Euphrates River—all the land of the Hittites—and west to the Mediterranean Sea. No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. I will be with you, just as I was with Moses. I will not leave you or forsake you.
Be strong and courageous, for you will distribute the land I swore to their fathers to give them as an inheritance. Above all, be strong and very courageous to carefully observe the whole instruction My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go. This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:1-9)

The first thing that God says to Joshua is to prepare. He didn’t just say prepare yourself, but for all the people to be prepared to cross over the Jordan. Anyone involved in this promise needs to be prepared for what God is going to do.

The second thing to know is that nothing will stand in the way of God’s promise. If God has promised you something, there is no power that will be able to stop God’s plan and promise in your life.

The third thing to know is that God will be with you throughout the whole process, that He will never leave  you or forsake you. Even as the promise seems to be falling apart in your mind, its not falling apart in God’s mind.

The fourth thing is to be strong and courageous. God’s plans are overwhelming at times, because we don’t see how it will all pan out, but that’s the great thing about it. Its God’s promise and idea, not ours. We couldn’t have possibly have come up with what God wanted to do with our life on our own, because our way of thinking is not His way of thinking. Stand up and be courageous, ready and eager to take your promise whenever God opens that door.

The fifth thing is having His word as our guide. We need to be spending time with God every day, memorizing his scripture and carefully observing His instruction for our lives. The Bible is our guide to truly taking hold of that promise and knowing exactly what the Lord wants to do in our lives. It brings us encouragement and clarity, taking our own thoughts and desires out of the equation. We must not turn from this path to the left or to the right, and we must have His word written on the very core of our hearts.

The sixth and final thing God again harps on with Joshua: Be strong and courageous! 

Take hold of God’s promise today in your life. He is ready to show you your promised land.

Be mighty and courageous warriors today.

Blessings,

Joseph.