The Name (Monday Musings)

monday

 “When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil.”- Acts 17:8

I am not sure what it is, but there is something about the name of Jesus that truly means something. In the public sector, the name of Jesus has caused so much trouble, so many court cases, and corporate complaints. Why? I mean…it is just a word, right? It still is somewhat confusing to me, because there aren’t names out there in textbooks, or who have celebrity status who bring about such a reaction.

When one says the phrase, “the name of Jesus” the common misconception is that they are only talking about the first name on Christ’s birth certificate (if He had one). My name is Landon, but that word only goes as far as my unique identity. With Jesus, though, there is something more powerful going on. The name of Jesus not only refers to who He is, but is also refers to His purpose. “Jesus”, broken down into the original language, literally means God saves, rescues or delivers.

So, when His name is mentioned, why are there such reactions across the globe? I think it is because people are comfortably acclimated to their captivity. It is an unpopular notion in our culture that anyone needs rescued. In fact, it is actually taboo to have the compassion to point out that people are drowning in a sea of lostness. I have had people tell me that the words I say are somewhat judgemental simply because I am extending a hand and pointing to a way out of their pain. This is the reality we live in. The world is a dark place, and the name of Jesus says it all…God saves, rescues, and delivers.

Reach up…find your way out of the darkness.

-Landon DeCrastos

Grab My Hand (Monday Musings)

monday

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

Imagine this scenerio for a moment. A man is walking along the 10th floor of a new office building that is in the middle of construction. The walls are bare and leave a lot to be desired, and the only functional way of going up and down is the few sets of stair cases on either end of the building. This man is going from room to room, imagining what the offices are going to look like, and he is hopeful that everything will come to reality soon.

This man is a business owner and knows that when this building is complete, his company will be housed in this brand new place. The 10th floor. He imagines where the desks will go, the colors that could be on the walls, and even where the outlets will best fit. He goes from room to room and sees such hope in this place. He is so excited about what could be, and what will come to pass.

As this man is walking, he gets distracted by his own daydreaming, and falls into the empty elevator shaft. Luckily, he is able to immediately grab a metal beam in between floors. There he hangs for hours, screaming at the top of his lungs. He wants to be safe again…he wants to be free. He is yelling for help, because he is afraid that he will drop to his doom any minute.

Suddenly, a construction worker on the 9th floor hears his cry. He runs to this poor man’s rescue. He is safe! “Grab my hand”, yells the construction worker. The remedy for this man’s fear and ultimate doom is only an arm’s length away. It is as easy as simply reaching out a hand. But wait…the man who is in danger of losing his life refuses the outstretched hand. “My dreams are on the 10th floor!”, he yells…referring to the business that will soon go into that space and the lifelong dream this man had while building this company. “I promise…I will take you to the 10th floor after I rescue you. Please trust me. Grab my hand!” the construction worker says. The man refused and  fell the rest of the building length to his demise.

This man had a choice…reach out his hand for the rescue being offered, or be so in love with his immediate desires that he loses his own life.

Each day, we have an awesome opportunity to choose life. We can choose to live our own life falling in love with our own goals, or we can choose to reach out and grab the hand of Jesus to give us life and more passion to live every day with our goals backed up by His power.

Grab His hand. Choose to live.

-Landon DeCrastos

Streams (Monday Musings)

monday

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” –John 7:38.

This passage is amazing to me, because the message is completely countercultural to our current society. Many people look at their personal beliefs in more of a hobby format, than one that determines lifestyle, behavior, or thought processes. People live their lifestyle in a certain way due to their beliefs about God and human relationships. Some people, however, say their beliefs are in line with a certain system yet their behavior shows differently. This causes an internal dilemma with anyone involved and leads to discomfort and spiritual warfare. One example of this is apathy concerning sin. Gluttony is one example.

The practice and religion of gluttony is a belief system more than it is series of habits. It is true that sometimes I will eat a little too much and regret it later, but gluttony is a chronic and detrimental religion. I call this practice a religion, because of what it takes to be a glutton. Like many other brands of sin, gluttony takes the human through a journey for which the destination is self reliance. When one is a glutton they are saying that God is not sufficient to provide so I must enjoy life now beyond the fullest measure. I must soak up as much pleasure as I can before it is gone forever.

God created enough for a reason. He wanted humanity to remember that it is He who provides, and He who we must hunger for. Hunger pains are built in reminders that we can not function without an outside substance. Without the sacrifice of another life (plant, animal, etc.)

Stewardship of the body implies that we do not have ownership of ourselves. We are a possession of the most high king, and are meant for His glory. How can we do this if our beliefs and behavior do not match? If I love God, how will I show Him?

What pleases Him is a life that is dedicated to love, and sold out to giving Him glory. Not because God is full of Himself, but because the practice of loving God makes us better.

Cling to enough. Love what is good.

-Landon DeCrastos

PS. Yesterday, I posted a blog called “Welcome to My Struggle” in which I talked openly about my eating addiction. I have gotten great responses from this and I want to thank you all for reading and commenting through emails, and Facebook messages. Today, I want to present to you my wife’s first blog and an introduction to her spiritual and physical journey. Click here to be taken to her new blog called “Mirror, Mirror”.

Filthy Rich (Monday Musings)

monday

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. –Ephesians 2: 4-7

Have you ever wanted to be rich? I mean, filthy rich? We have heard this phrase so many times, and I don’t know about you but, when I hear this phrase, I picture Scrooge McDuck (remember Ducktales?) swimming in a giant silo filled with coins. Many of us wouldn’t mind never having to worry about bills, and having enough left over to indulge our desires…within reason.

The Bible is very clear about this attitude. We can gather all of the material stuff possible, and the blessing that would result would not even compare to the value we find in a relationship with Christ. Also, we can read that all of the righteousness we can produce is like “filthy rags” to God…because a life lived independently of God’s resourcing is a life that is severely lacking in momentum.

So, when we read this excerpt there is something shocking that jumps off the page. Considering the deep deficit we begin with…the rejection of God, the disobedience, and overall spiritual infidelity, it is amazing to see that an acceptance of God’s mercy and salvation is an act that completely fills this void. It not only fills this void, but there is so much overflow the apostle Paul describes the amount as “incomparable”. This means that there is no quantity of any other substance that can equally be compared to this resource.

It is a relaxing thing to know that God loves us so much that we have immediate and continuous access to this abundance. Not only that, but it is relaxing to know that it is okay to accept it. I know that sounds crazy, but I think there are many people who have a barrier up when it comes to accepting God because they feel so terrible about their past. They feel they should be disqualified from grace, and misery is a punishment well suited for their sorrow.

God is offering His riches to you. More than you could ever imagine. It is okay to be free.

-Landon DeCrastos

 

Here I am (Monday Musings)

monday

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 

Isaiah 6:1-8 brings up questions that are hard to avoid. First, what about this vision created a desire in Isaiah’s heart to serve God no matter what the circumstance? Next, what kind of resources was God going to supply Isaiah to accomplish this task?

Isaiah was commissioned to go to the people of Israel and preach a message of coming destruction and the hope and deliverance found through repentance. In a time when idolatry was rampant, and people began to forget about God’s faithfulness, this people group became content with the way things were. A captivity defined by self reliance and purposeless living.

Isaiah had a close relationship with God, and heard from Him regularly. He was not perfect, but God set him aside for a special purpose…to lead the children of God back to Him.

This passage shows us that God gave Isaiah the awesome opportunity to pull back the spiritual curtain and get a glimpse of the business of Heaven. Part of the business of Heaven is what happened to Isaiah…he was forgiven and purified of sin. His repentence and recognition of his depravity led to n authentic transformation. This transformation changed him so drastically that his passion for God to transformed others naturally followed.

What did God give Isaiah to accomplish this task? He gave His servant direct access to Him at all times. God gave Him a dynamic relationship that fanned the flame of love and compassion for his people. We have this same resource available to us.

If you have been changed by God, what does that transformation mean for you? Is it simply a ticket into an elite group of believers? Or, is it the fuel and animates the engine of service. We will please God if our Christian living is resourced by our relationship with the Creator. Do you have the courage to be open to God’s leading no matter the possible outcome?

Keep loving. Keep living. Keep growing.

-Landon DeCrastos