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Jesus and the Teddy Bear

Just trust Me

I know that most of you have probably seen this meme on social media over the past year or so. There is that saying that says “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but I think this photo meme is worth about ten thousand words lol. There is so much spiritual meat that can be pulled from this illustration, and I imagine that a ton of sermons can be preached off of it as well. However, in this post I just want to share some of my personal revelations that I take from what this meme is saying…

What God has in store for us is bigger than any IDOL that we try to hold on to. His plan is so much greater than the plan that we concoct for our lives. However, in order to ever see this reality manifest, we must be willing to let go. We must be willing to DIE to ourselves and allow His spirit to live through us. He has to become LORD over our lives.

Matthew 16:24-26 24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (NKJV)

The big teddy bear that Jesus is holding behind His back in the picture can represent your destiny. I believe it can also simply mean the “bigger picture” and represents something that is of eternal value. We have our own ideals, interests and infatuations with whatever moves us, or gives us instant gratification. This is represented by the small teddy bear to which the little girl clings. The small teddy bear represents the temporal and the rewards that will eventually gather up dust and rust, just like Jesus said.

I also believe that the small teddy bear represents selfishness and ultimately the desires of the flesh, while the larger teddy bear represents something that is much greater than ourselves. The little bear also reminds me of when Esau sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for some soup. He gave up the bigger teddy bear for something temporary, something that would give him instant gratification. In his case, it was the very course of his destiny that he forsook. We all have a marvelous journey He has planned out that will end with eternal rewards being reaped due to the spiritual fruit that will be bared, but only if we find that narrow path and stay the course.
The big teddy bear can even represent rewards in the natural, however, we have to be willing to embrace the process that the Lord desires to put us through because He is shaping our character so we can properly handle the enlarged territory that He desires for us to claim. However, this process can only began when we are willing to forsake our way for His way; just like in the photo meme.

John 12:24 24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. (NKJV)

The choice is ours. Either we trust Him or we don’t. People like me have held on to disappointments and have harbored some resentment towards the Lord because He shut some doors that we desperately wanted open. We need to be reminded that He is lord and is constantly protecting us from ourselves and dangers seen and unseen. We also have to realize that He already knows the beginning and the end. It would be in our best interest to get back to reverencing Him and understanding that His plan will always be far greater than our plans, despite what we appear to experience in the natural. The world says to live in the moment and we should. However, we who are followers of Christ Jesus are peculiar people who are supposed to be living from an eternal perspective. Do we have enough faith to believe that the teddy bear Jesus is holding behind his back is in fact bigger and greater than the one we want to cling to? Are we willing to embrace transformation so that our hearts are moved more by spiritual things (big teddy bear) and not the things of this world (little teddy bear)? I wonder if we truly realize that by clinging on to the smaller teddy bear, we are in fact settling for less. I declare that it is time for many of us to truly die to ourselves so that we can live the abundant life; hence, the giant teddy bear. Blessings to you all.

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2015

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To Judge or Not to Judge

Matthew 7:1-5 Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. NKJV

This is probably one of the most misused and misquoted scriptures of the entire Bible. In the past, I have used this scripture incorrectly many, many times. Nine times out of ten, this scripture is quoted by people when they are confronted by others regarding their sin issues or bad fruit that they are producing. This scripture is used in defense to someone declaring the Word of God regarding known situations. However, using that scripture to defend bad fruit or actions is totally incorrect. Proclaiming the righteousness of God or stating a fact is NOT judging someone. Jesus Christ stated that we would know a man by his fruit, so in essence; the fruit speaks for itself. Or should I say that it speaks the judgment itself.

When Jesus spoke the words of Matthew, He was referring to judging someone’s motives or heart. We do not know what it is in someone’s heart, and so it is not wise for us to pronounce judgments because we will most likely be wrong. Unless there is visible fruit and information is in fact known, what you are doing is judging instead of simply examining fruit. According to Steve Foss, author of Satan’s Dirty Little Secret, most of these judgments come from a place of insecurity or inferiority. I believe that this why Jesus said to get the plank out of our own eye before trying to remove the splinter from our brother’s eye. Unless we know all of the information, we have a plank in our eye and should keep silent. These incorrect judgments will tear down relationships and cause divisions. They are really just a form of gossip and they usually proclaim untruths about people, which is basically slander. They are an assassination of someone’s character.

So the purpose of me even writing this post is from a place of REPENTANCE. I have been guilty of judging people and situations because I did not have all of the facts. I drew conclusions about people and situations that were sometimes hurtful or just incorrect. Once I gained an understanding of judgment as defined by Jesus, I am now very conscious of this behavior and am striving to not judge without information. I shudder at the thought of how many people I have unfairly judged over the years. Even though there might have been some visible evidence or fruit of what I felt, there was a much bigger picture that I did not see until much time later. Had I withheld my judgments, I would have regarded and treated them better. Due to my own insecurities and feelings of inferiority, I would cast judgments from a place of hurt and often times I was completely wrong. Meanwhile, I allowed the enemy and his forces entry into my own mind and into the atmosphere to cause further damage. This sin is simply another gateway for demonic activity and for confusion to arise.

gavel-judge

But I want to go into another aspect of judgments that we make. Sometimes they are not necessarily evil in their intent. They refer to viewing people and situations not necessarily in a negative light, but simply a wrong one. We all know the saying in the world about what happens when we assume. I won’t repeat it. ☺ These assumptions directly and indirectly influence how we react to situations and people. The truth is in fact that situations are not always what they appear. Can you see how much damage can be done due to judgments? Can you see the amount of confusion that can be caused?

I can think of different situations over the past number of years where I thought I was being “overlooked” or “disrespected.” Whether it involved ministry or the job, I would assign motives and intents to people who made the decisions in situations where I seemingly got the short end of the stick. I would immediately jump to conclusions about them and conjure up all kinds of thoughts and ideas surrounding the situation that usually had no relevance whatsoever. Over time, the Lord has shown me that I overreacted in many of these situations. The bottom line was that I simply needed to grow up and get over my inferiority complex and rejection issues. There will be times when it will appear like you’re being treated unfairly and unjustly, but sometimes God is testing you to see if you can keep your composure and refrain from drawing unnecessary conclusions. It may sound a little harsh but we all should grow some thicker skin, which will help keep us from forming judgments.

The reality is that only God can judge the heart or someone’s motives because He sees directly into our inward parts. Only He knows the deep things of our hearts.

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013

 

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Trusting God for Friendship

A few months ago I attended a gathering and ran into an old friend of mine. We hadn’t talked or seen each other in at least a year and a half or so. We shared a quick light hug and immediately I realized that this person wasn’t particularly elated to see me. I started a conversation in order to hopefully catch up with this person so we could share what‘s been happening in our lives. Well, let’s just say that I was the one that had to be responsible for keeping the conversation going. This was not a reunion. Then it dawned on me as I kept trying to keep the conversation alive that this person and I were no longer friends. As I drove home that night, I admit that it did sting a bit. A slight heaviness came over me and I reflected on our years in college and just the differences in our personalities and outlooks on life. By the next morning, I was more at peace. I realized that this person and I had simply grown into different people. My mind became a little more at ease as I understood that this person and I maybe didn’t have much in common anymore. Were there unresolved issues? Possibly… Who knows? We can’t read each other’s minds and it is just best to move on. This person and I certainly are not enemies, but this situation is evidence that relationships do change. I can rest and be okay with the fact that this person and I are now mere acquaintances.

A mentor friend at my church always says, “Life is a big bowl of relationships.” I believe he is right to a large degree. Relationships change over time for a variety of different reasons. There are those you just simply outgrow. This is not to suggest that you are better than them, but that people mature spiritually at different rates. Sometimes you and that person may not have anything in common anymore or that their lives become stagnant whiles yours is moving on; or vice versa. Other times, our lives simply go in different directions and the closeness or intimacy you once shared with someone diminishes. These situations can especially hurt when they involve your own family. I know all too well about that one… There are other times where things like physical distance can cause relationships to fizzle out, like a soda that has gone flat.

Sometimes there are expressed and even unspoken offenses in relationships. The nature of human frailty includes situations of jealousy, envy and simply ulterior motives for the “friendship” in the first place. This is why COMMUNICATION is key when it comes to relationships. I know that I have current relationships that have somewhat broken down because of misunderstanding, expressed and unexpressed offenses and lack of communication. When there are unhealed issues, wounds and offenses that have not been resolved, the relationship is likely to break down sooner or later. Unfortunately, it may even result in a blow-up or falling out. I’m sure we have all heard the saying that “Hurt people hurt others.” Well, I believe this plays out all the time in relationships. Just like a wound that goes untreated and develops an infection that can spread around the whole body, a relationship can become permanently broken due to festering situations and wounds.

I believe that friendship is an area of our lives where we don’t always allow Father God to be in control. (This is actually the main point of this post) Let’s face it; relying upon Him to choose our friends and place people in our lives isn’t exactly easy. He will not place people that you necessary deem to be pleasant or likeable in your path. He will not always link you up with people who are cool or even those that you might seem to have some things in common. He will likely link you up with folks to help shape your character. This includes individuals with whom your personality clashes. This also includes people who will hurt you.

Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (NKJV)

We must remember that this is a journey that we are walking and if He is lord over our lives, He should get place whomever in your world He feels is necessary for your spiritual growth. He will place the people you NEED in your life; not always those you necessarily want. I’m learning that I have to be open to allowing God to place people in my life whom in the natural, I may never have formed a connection. I am learning to yield to Him so that my horizons can be broadened a bit. How many times have I or you ended relationships without God’s permission? Or how many times have we formed relationships with people when God was raising red flags for us to run the other direction? Hmmmm…. Ponder that.

Our connections with people are not just for our benefit, but for theirs as well. Every relationship is supposed to have a purpose.

friendship

So with that being said, we have to brace ourselves when God sometimes breaks up our relationships. He does this for a variety of reasons, such as codependency, lust, jealousy, distractions, causing brethren to stumble, etc. Heck, the Bible does say also that He is a jealous God. No man should come before Him, so don’t be surprised if He intervenes and causes a “sabbatical” from a relationship, or severs it altogether. If our affections for our friends exceed those towards Him, sometimes He will take some drastic measures to divert our attention back on to Himself. I have also come to realize that God is always protecting us. I think about the numerous times over the years where I would meet someone and we would seem to hit it off great in terms of fellowshipping. But for some reason, the connection would get lost almost immediately and somehow we could never get our schedules aligned or even talk over the phone much. These situations would get me down sometimes. However, in recent years, the Holy Spirit has shown me that in many of these situations, God was protecting me from that person, and vice versa… I also had to swallow my pride and admit that my neediness often caused me to cling to people and not go to Him in my times of need. Everything that appears good isn’t, especially if He is not a part of it…

So this is why we must trust God with our relationships. Wrong relationships will steer us off course from our destiny and take away our attention off of the Father. Wrong relationships will cause us walk in flesh and not the spirit. Right relationships will help form our character. Right relationships should draw us closer to Him. Let’s trust the Father and allow Him to pick and choose our relationships.

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013

 

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It Will All Be Worth It

On that glorious day, I believe the Heavenly Father will speak affirming words to all who endured and remained in right-standing with Him. I will only attempt to convey what my holy imagination tells me He will say to different types of people. On that day, everything will finally make sense as we are all completely formed to His image and are given the new heavenly bodies. We will be made perfect! It will all be worth it!

 

To the person with the major deformity or rare disease, the Heavenly Father will say:

Thank you, and well done My good and faithful servant! Thank you for showing others how to live in victory in spite of your circumstance. Thank you for not believing the enemy of your soul who tried to get you to believe that I loved you less. I needed people to persevere and show the world the true definition of strength and character. So I chose you long before you were formed in your mother’s womb. I envisioned your bravery and how your life would bring Me glory. You have no idea how many souls you touched and inspired! You held your head up high above the taunts, the jeers and the stares and chose to keep your eyes on the cross of Calvary. You allowed the blood of My Son to cleanse away self-pity, doubt and unbelief. I was there right beside you the entire time up until you breathed your last. While I had to comfort those around you, I rejoiced because I knew that you would be forever in My arms. You fought the good fight! Long suffering has paid you eternal dividends! Now go and see all that your faithfulness has given you for eternity!

To those who died young, the Heavenly Father will say:

I was always jealous for you. Before this earth existed, I adored you and knew that I could only send you to the earth for a short time. Yes your days were short and few but a part of My masterful plan. I couldn’t bare the thought of you having to remain in all the wickedness and evil of the world. I needed you by My side sooner than later. So thank you for shining My light and being salt to those around you. Thank you for learning how to embrace each step of the path I laid out for you with gladness and joy. I fashioned and formed your infectious smile and aura with My precision, and it brought Me such great delight! You left imprints of My glory after you breathed your last. I have come off of My throne and am running to you with open arms because we are now reunited. Now you will bask in My light for eternity and reign with Me forever and ever! Your reward awaits you!

To the artisans who went unrecognized, to those who dreamed big but seemingly came up short, the Heavenly Father will say:

I saw your sorrow that you kept hidden and I bottled up all of your secret tears. However, I rejoiced when you decided to choose joy over happiness. I gave you marvelous gifts that were for My glory. They were like precious jewels that a woman would keep locked in her jewelry box away so nobody would take them. Thank you for allowing My spirit to tame the wild stallion in your heart. Thank you for worshipping Me and not your gifts, charisma and ideas. Thank you for choosing the audience of Me over the audience of many. I needed secret weapons in the spirit realm for specific times and you held on to your faith. You allowed Me to use you the way I always had intended. Thank you for choosing Me over fame and riches. Thank you for being a pure vessel that only desired My presence and for My purposes to come forth. Thank you for not trusting in the promises of worldly success and trusting in the life I predestined for you. Thank you for not taking yourself too seriously and overcoming jealousy and envy of those who I chose to use in a more visible way. Your weapons remained razor sharp and defeated demonic forces in ways you would never know. Your gift caused great conviction, edification and repentance to those assigned to you. The applause of heaven shall now forever fill your ears! Go see all the rewards that never gathered up dust! 

To the soldiers killed in war and those who died saving the lives of others, the Heavenly Father will say:

Your bravery has earned you a glorious crown that will forever sit upon your head. No greater love is there than for a man who will give his life for others. I placed that love on the inside of you. In a world full of pride and selfishness, you remained selfless. You showed the world the true meaning of sacrifice and became a hero. Not only are you forever remembered in the earthly realm, there is a chapter in the Book of Life that is all about you! I’m your daddy and I will always say, “This is my child in whom I am well pleased.” You are of the chosen few throughout the ages who believed in something enough to die for. So in essence you truly lived! Enjoy the eternal fruits of your labor! For they were never in vain, and when I tried them in My holy fire they held up and remained. Now go see all that you have gained!  

To those who were martyred, the Heavenly Father will say:

Your death was victorious! It shook the very foundations of hell and caused demons to tremble! Your blood spilled and turned the hearts of many into fertile ground. Many lukewarm souls were made hot by your death. Many others came into My kingdom after witnessing or hearing about your passion for Me. You brought in a great harvest! Thank you for not loving your life till death. Your unwavering obedience kept you on that narrow path no matter where it would lead to because you trusted in Me. The truth is that I suffered with you even up to the moment when your earthly body was killed. But now I adorn you in this white robe. You will now rest in My glory and enjoy pleasures forever more! The pain your flesh endured has given you access to everything in My kingdom! Go and behold treasures that have been never seen!    

 

This life will have its troubles, but He said that he would never leave us no forsake us. Life is not fair, according to mankind’s standards. But Isaiah 55:8-9 says “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (NKJV) His plan is perfect despite whatever might seem to manifest in the natural. We have to trust in what we cannot see. We must walk by faith and not by sight. Trust the Heavenly Father as He is saying “It will all be worth it!”

Nathan Allen Copyright© 2012

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2012 in Spirituality

 

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