We are Not Immune, Stay Vigilant

I remember my first serious relationship. About four months into this relationship she told me how happy she was and that it had been the best relationship that she had ever been in. I remember because it was one of the nicest things anyone had ever said to me. What I didn’t realize was that that moment was also the beginning of the end of our relationship. Eight months later she broke up with me because our relationship had tanked.

When I looked back over the relationship I realized that as soon as she told me that and I felt like I had “arrived” at happiness I started to slack. I would flake here or there, perhaps I wouldn’t apologize this time because I felt that it wasn’t needed…. I had stopped giving it my all because I felt I was in such a good place that it wouldn’t matter…and little by little it began to chip away until it was too late.

Why do I share this? I share this because like our walk with Christ, vigilance is the difference between happily ever after and total destruction. The moment we feel like we have arrived… the moment we think we got this thing wired and can begin to slack off is the beginning of the end…

We will never have our sin under control…. we will never be strong enough to stand up against the enemy unless we remain vigilant in our walk and in our faith. No matter how on fire we are for God we are always vulnerable if we are not vigilant. Our pride sneaks up on us, our frustrations take root in our heart and slowly turns us bitter.

We must seek God with everything we are or we will begin to be chipped away…. until it’s too late.

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Hate me if You Want, I Love You

​​I was standing by a wall before work this morning and I saw a woman sitting behind my office building. She was sitting in the dirt putting on her make up and cleaning her wounds. It was obvious that she was strung out on meth and homeless. She was sitting by the door I was going to enter so when I approached the door I turned to her and smiled. I said good morning and offered her my sandwich. She kind of laughed at the offer so I didn’t know how to read her. I couldn’t tell if she was offended or just smoked out, so I started talking with her.

She was tripping on how I had just woken up and was starting my day. She was asking me if I had my huge coffee with 8 shots from starbucks and some babble I couldn’t quite make out. I could tell she was being condescending by the sneer on her face and the tone in her voice but it didn’t phase me one bit. I could tell she just thought I was some yuppie trying to take pity on someone I viewed as less than myself. I laughed and told her no, but I did drink about a gallon of coffee this morning. In that moment I saw a look in her eyes saying, “You yuppie idiot, you don’t have any clue.” I recognized the look because it is the look I had often throughout my years of wandering.

I smiled and told her that I was stuck on meth, booze and anything else I could get my hands on for most of my life and that I had been clean for 4 or 5 years. This statement got her attention and she responded quickly, “Do you have a line!?” I smiled and told her again, “Nah, I’ve been clean and I’m not going back”, and she replied, “Well if you ever change your mind come see me and I will hook you up.” I chuckled again and smiled. I looked into her eyes and said, “that won’t be happening but if you ever want some Jesus or some hope you come back here and see me again. I told her God loved her and told her to be safe and went up to work.

I came back down an hour later to smoke and she was still sitting back there with someone else. I smiled and said hi and then went to my phone to mind my own business while standing next to them. I heard her begin to make comments to her friend about how I loved Jesus. Not in an inspired way, this chick was talking some smack.

They were giggling away making their comments and what I noticed was that it wasn’t bothering me. I am sitting there listening to her but not responding because it would have done nothing but escalate a situation that didn’t need to be escalated and I felt joy. It was so noticeable to me because I don’t do well with being disrespected.

I began thinking with excitement, “they are hating on me for Jesus, this is so awesome!” Then I began to feel so grateful because this persecution was nothing compared to what our brothers and sisters are facing around the globe daily….

I didn’t inspire that girl or have the reaction that is always hoped for when I witness, but I was still blessed because I was obedient. Our conversation could click with her a month down the road, 10 years or never…. that is not for me to know. But I was and am filled with joy because I was obedient therefore loving.

I may not have brought her to Christ but I showed her that not every Christian is what she thought, and I showed her for a moment that there is an end to addiction, there is hope and there is a way out

Don’t worry about the outcome of your witness… focus on your motives.

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

Want to Feel God’s Presence?

​”This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” John 4 10-12

This scripture jumped into my mind last night and something stirred in me. If we want to feel God’s presence…..if we want to be who He wants us to be and be blessed, all we need to do is love on someone who doesn’t deserve it.

God is love, and if His love, which essentially is God, is made complete when we actively love, then He is fully in us while we are loving.

Want to feel God’s presence ?…. love on a stranger.

Be the Blessing

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

A Father’s Visit

​Anticipation, anxiety, excitement 

  A whirlwind, so fast

….so slow

     It’s not like it was

how could it be

     Love overflowing

  Roaring like a river

Rocks of insecurity, regret and hurt cut the flow

…..the precious moments sting

   They are priceless through

In the blink of an eye

   Silence, distance…..waiting 

The love will always grow 

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

Jesus Freak and Proud 

​I am a Jesus freak, through and through. What’s that to you ? 

Church, Jesus, Rancid, D.R.I., The Crucified, T.S.O.L., Jesus Culture, etc? Do you got me figured out yet?

Jesus freaks gotta be chumps right? 

Don’t kid yourself!  From the gutter to the gospel, from gritty to grace. I am me, plus love, times grace. If you don’t feel it read it again. I’m as hard and soft as they come. Jesus is Lord and I will tell you again.

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

A Father’s Heart

​Awakened by my thoughts

   Thoughts of what’s in store

Do they miss me 

   Do they want me

      …..I can’t wait to hold them

So much to say…

   Ends up in babble

So much love…..

   My thoughts keep me awake

Do they know

   …..I do 

 It’s the little things

A quarter in this time is significant 

…..do they know I long for them

Hours until I see them

….. I am afraid 

   Afraid of them not knowing

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

Why do We Love Christ?

​I am sitting at work, doing my thing and all of a sudden I was filled with such an urgency to write about Christ.

There is a conversation Jesus has with Peter;

– Luke 9:18-20 “Once when Jesus was praying in private and His disciples were with Him, He asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”

“But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?”(red letter)

I feel this question is the most important question every believer needs to ask themselves and pray about. We may think we have the “right” answers, or have heard moving or inspiring opinions from others which we have chosen to grab onto and make our own. Some can comb over the scriptures and have books of the bible memorized but have no real understanding of who Jesus truly is to them, in their lives.

How can we truly love Christ, appreciate fully what He has done for us if our faith, and our love is based on clichés? I am not saying that these clichés are wrong, what I am saying is we need to know why we love Him, personally and sincerely.

How can we fully love someone if we don’t know why we personally chose to love Him and to follow Him?

My prayer is that every follower will delve into their faith and ask the question, “Why do I love Him?”

This question will strengthen our faith, dramatically strengthen our witness/testimony and will cause us to fall further and further in love with Jesus.

Be blessed and seek more of Him!

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

Seek the Lost and Love Them

Holy Spirit impressed something on my heart I feel I should share with all of you. In Luke 8:26-39, Jesus had come across a cursed man. Possessed not by one demon, but a legion of demons.

The hold that these demons had on this man was so great that he was written off by society. Exiled to the tombs, hastily forgotten, helpless…hopeless. The villagers didn’t know what to do with the man and they tried everything they could think of. In desperation, they chained the man down, but his demons were so powerful they would just snap their chains….unable to deal with him, he was exiled to the tombs to suffer in his torment.

Everyone was terrified of this man….. Jesus sought this man out. Everyone wrote him off as a lost cause. Jesus saw a man who needed to be set free…..

This is such an inspirational model for every one of us. We cannot turn a blind eye to the exiles of this age. We must not confine our ministry to that of our own comfort. There is a large world out there, filled with so many people without hope. Broken, lost, hurting and alone. The people outside of our comfort zone, so different, or dare I say scary to us that are howling in pain like this possessed man.

In so much pain, consumed by their demons…. How will they know what we know, unless we tell them? The homeless man, the convict, the orphan…. Men and women bound and gagged in their sin, their pain or their circumstances.

I am not saying that we should head down some dark alley looking for lost souls. I am just saying that He wants to use us. We don’t need to be afraid or over think how God could possibly use us. With a single smile or a word said from love, Holy Spirit is capable of changing the heart and life of a person otherwise hopeless.
Jesus has called us not to stand on the sidelines, but to roll up our sleeves and love the unlovable. It is our responsibility to remember the forgotten and give hope to the hopeless, in Jesus name.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” -Matt 28:19-20

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Shackles of Yesterday 

​ …….selfish

 Consumed by a lifestyle obsession     

         Destroyed my heart

Suddenly 

    Morbid thoughts take hold 

        Futile escaping the pain 

    Indescribable aching of the soul   

                 Freedom

        sorely needed 

                Unlikely 

     Aware previously

                but blinded 

          Contradictions

         Desperate to forget 

   Unwilling 

       Move on!

  Impossible…..

Written by: Justin Ludwig sometime between 1999-2012

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

I Want to Pray for You, Use Me.

​IF YOU BELIEVE IN PRAYER, PLEASE READ THIS!!

https://rawdiscipleblog.wordpress.com/prayer-requests/

If you need prayer, fellowship, and/or need a brother in Christ to lean on, I am here for you. 

I don’t just believe, but I know that as Christians, prayer is the most important, most powerful thing we do. To know someone is there, day or night when your heart is breaking that is ready to pray for you, praise with you, or simply be here to listen can and does change everything.

If you are not a Christian, it’s okay. I love you just as much as the Christian, the Muslim or out right haters of God. But wherever you are at, God loves you. I ask that if you feel that twinge in your stomach,  that pull from the Holy Spirit to reach out, don’t hesitate, don’t think, just respond.

Your prayers and/or messages come directly me, I share them with no one I urge you to leave your email address so I can email you my prayer, praise or comment so you know, without a doubt that you are loved, that you are important,  and that you are being prayed for. Your email will not be given to anyone, this is strickly for you, and for me.

Let me love you, let me pray for you.

https://rawdiscipleblog.wordpress.com/prayer-requests/

Written by Justin Ludwig 

In our Wandering, He is There

20180512_1013201078402913.jpg

The times in our life when we feel like we are wandering in the desert can be the most discouraging. When God’s voice is silent and we have no idea what is going on or what is going to happen. We look back over our faith and wondering how we got to this place….

“Did I take a wrong turn?”, “Did God bail on me?” It is in these times when our faith is tested. When there is no end in sight and all we seem to have is a promise that He will see us through, even though our hope seems to be rapidly dissipating.

If you look in Exodus, you will see a story of God’s people who were promised freedom, a nation and a life beyond anything they dare hope or dream. God told them not to take the familiar route out of Egypt because when things got hard they would be tempted to turn around and head back into slavery….into darkness where it is familiar.(Ex 13:17-18) God knew that the road He had for them was going to be very hard and He wanted them to press on so He could fulfill His promise and bless them like He said He would.

I have come to recognize these times of wandering as a very clear indicator that God is about to do something important in our lives. When He takes us on the unfamiliar path to protect us from our own weakness, fear and doubt. He sends us somewhere where we must rely on Him completely… then boom….it becomes clear.

Have faith, He will see you through, I promise.

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Love, in Action 

​When I stare at the rain I cannot help but think of my old life.

Cold, alone, hurting and not a friend in the world. Something about rainy days made it so much more painful.

Sitting behind that dumpster, my head would drift back to days of my youth. Cuddled up next to my parents, safe and secure with the whole world before me…. My mind would drift back to this place of nostalgia and comfort no matter how hard I tried to push it away.

Why did I push away the happy memories you may ask…. it’s because I had lost all hope. 

I had no doubt in my mind that I had carved out my path long before and that I had blown it. My memories were nothing more than a taunting from a God that was giving me everything I deserved…. I knew that not a single soul gave a damn about me and my days of hope and love were long gone…. I had past the point of no return.

I didn’t know that people cared…. I didn’t know that God loved me and that my life was not over… that I had hope.

There is a whole world of people in this exact same prison…. lost in the illusion that not a soul on this planet gives a crap about them.

They need to know they are loved, by God and by us, but they will not know this if we don’t tell them.

I talk about this often because I will never forget that place…. I talk about it often because the smallest gesture, the smallest act of love really can change everything.

We don’t need to worry about what to say to the broken because it really doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that our love is sincere for these people. That love is what they will see and it will speak to their hearts, I promise you that. Even if you don’t get the response you are hoping for, you can know that right in that moment you showed them that they have not been forgotten, that they are loved.

My prayer for all of us is that our eyes will be open, are hearts filled with love and that the Spirit’s voice will be heard.

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

New Years Resolution? Nah, I got Christ

​Resolutions…. I hear them all around me; on television, at work, at the store. It seems like the whole world is jumping at the opportunity for a clean slate…a fresh start. They want to put a year of shortcomings and failures in their rear view mirror as they strive for something better.

I could not relate more with their desires…. for something new, a do over on some of the choices made in the previous days, months or years….but I can’t help but wonder, what’s different than any other day of the year? 

Then I think about the life of a Christian. Every single day… every single moment, we have the opportunity to start fresh.

All year long people are waiting for a pivotal moment, a marker where they feel change is a good idea. The world gets so excited because they feel they have a real chance for a clean slate.

We as believers are blessed beyond any other person on this planet because we know the Truth… the Truth is, every single day, with every single shortcoming, we are given the gift of a clean slate. By knowing the freedom that comes through Christ, every passing moment really is another chance to turn it all around.

We are free from the burdens, the stigmas….the tainting of who we are because of our mistakes. 

We are free to live new everyday…. I don’t know about you, but that truth sets me free in a way that no amount of resolutions ever possibly could or would. 

You are free!… what you do with it is up to you. 

Happy Hew Year Y’all. May you bask in the freedom of the Son.

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

Trust Beyond You

​You know, I was just thinking…. I was thinking of a man of faith who isn’t really recognized all that much, and that is Joseph, husband to Mary and step Father to Jesus. This man wasn’t married to Mary yet, they had never slept together and he gets hit with the news that his future bride is pregnant. Not only is she pregnant, but he is told she has been inpregnated by Holy Spirit. 

I don’t know about you, but if I were Joseph, I would have a hard time processing that information. There is no way that he wasn’t even the least bit suspicious that Mary had slept with someone else….. 

How easily Joseph could have bailed on Mary if he was a man without faith. For myself, if I didn’t know how the story played out….if I hadn’t had so many very real experiences with Holy Spirit I honestly don’t think I would have or could have believed what had happened. 

But Joseph chose to believe…. he chose to believe that God was working and that He was more than capable of doing something beyond Joseph’s understanding….. what if Joseph chose to bail? Say he did choose to believe the worst, he leaves her and Mary dies not being able to take care of herself and as a result Christ wasn’t born.

It really is amazing if you think about it. A man who really didn’t play a huge role in the story was in fact crucial to it. If he did not chose to believe God past his own understanding, we could still be living in darkness, waiting for the Messiah that was able to come because Joseph believed. I don’t know about you, but I find that very encouraging.

Don’t be fooled into thinking your role isn’t important. If we chose to trust God beyond what we can explain, understand or feel, then He will use us. 

So I guess my question is, Do you believe? 

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

Choose to Trust Him

wp-1508802537930.jpgThe enemy’s lies are always speaking. Whether it be a personal spiritual attack or commercials on television, the voice drones on…..and if we don’t focus on Jesus, if we don’t seek the cross…..we can never be free.

We all have our battles; some feel too much, some not enough. There are Christians who are trying to leave a past behind, while some are desperately searching forward, looking for something.

Wherever you are, the Truth remains the same. Jesus will meet you, right where you’re at. The enemy will try and bombard you with doubts, with fear….with lies.

Never forget, it comes down to a choice. You have to choose to trust God. Anyone can trust God when His presence is thick and the blessings are raining down. But when you are in those dark places, where you feel alone, lost or abandoned…. choose to remember God’s goodness and never let go of the Truth… that He is incapable of failing you.

God is constant, God is love and He is not going to give up on you, hold a grudge or punish you. Remember that!

Take heart y’all, God has not forgotten about you! I know it feels that way sometimes…. when God feels absent, and it seems to come at a time when you feel you need Him most. Don’t let the enemy get you twisted. He will come through for you, just like He does for me, time and time again.

Your hope will be revealed, of this I have zero doubts. Just hang on, pray and love, especially when you don’t feel like it, and you will see. I promise

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”-Romans 8:38-39

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Dreams

​I had a dream last night….

I was in a house right at the beach, it was perfect. My wife and I were there, walking through the house, just laughing and basking in the life we had…. I heard it first, a low rumbling, distant but distinct. My whole body got tight as my eyes shot over to my wife. It was clear that she didn’t hear it. I walked over to the window, expecting to see the same beautiful view I had gazed over a thousand times before. 

I walked to the window and I saw it. A tidal wave, a wall of water that stretched higher to the heavens than my eyes could even reach….it was so big. I turned to my wife who was still chatting away, I grabbed her hand and whispered,  “Run.”

We were running so hard, I recognized the path, but at that moment the familiarity was the last thing on my mind. The roaring was causing a vibration that penetrated me to my core. I remember my wife’s hand, that was my focus, well that and the enormous wave promising our complete destruction….. 

“Don’t let go, keep running”, was all I could repeat. I felt the mist of the water lightly kissing my neck, almost taunting me. We crested a hill and stopped, completely exhausted and turned to look. We turned around expecting the wave to slam into us…. 

Strangely I was looking through the same window on my indoor patio that revealed this monster wave in the first place. Somehow my house came with us. I don’t know how, but we were back in that house. Looking out that window, gazing at the blue water that had just destroyed everything in its path…..it was quite, very quite. We both had a puzzled look on our face, looking back from the window, to each other’s eyes, and back to the window again…..silence.

We let out a deep sigh of relief, and as soon as our shoulders relaxed we heard it. It was like freight train, so much louder than the last time. I didn’t look up to the window at first, I already knew…..then it went dark. I looked up and there was another wave, this one was so large it blocked the sky and blotted out the sun. I shot my gaze to my wife, my eyes filled with terror. She asked me, “run?” I grabbed her, pulled her close and said, “We can’t outrun this one. It’s too big, there’s no time.” 

I grabbed my wife, pulled her close and closed my eyes. I told her how much I loved her, I told her it would be over soon….that everything would be ok, we have each other, right here, right now. I held her so tight…… then, darkness.

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

Bitter Sweet Blessings

​I went and visited my kids this week……It was such a blessing getting to see them….. man, they have grown up so much.

This week was filled with so many blessings. The conversations that were had, the countless dances with my princess….the laughter. I think that’s what I miss the most,hearing them laugh. It brought to life all of the love I possess, and it was incredible. This week was also a week filled with regret, tears, indescribable hurt and pain that I would not wish on anyone……

In our walk, in our faith, in this life, we are constantly making choices. This experience for me is one of great difficulty. I have focused on the bad all of my life. I dwell, I complain and can be very cynical.. just ask my wife 

But right now I have a choice…. I can bask is the sweetness of those moments that nobody can take away from me, or I can allow the pain, hurt and fear to rob me of that precious gift from God.

We all have situations like this in our lives. God creates such beautiful things through trials and pain, and though your story is not the same as mine, you have a choice, just like me. Do we bask in the blessings or allow fear and pain to cripple us and rob us of our joy?

Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Writteb by: Justin Ludwig

Echos of Past Sin

​Second hand experiences

  part time leader….

Echos of past sins

  Intensifies with each bounce 

  A blink…..their gone

Eternity in a moment 

…..so many moments

  Wondering 

     Worrying 

         Helpless 

…..reduced to a by standard 

   the love…..

The beauty replaced with pain

      And so the wheels spin

Spinning, spinning, spinning. 

  Intensification with each reverberation

   then a flash…

Echos cease

   Love abounds

        …….Love 

more than words could muster

    A moment captured 

         Treasured

Refusal to blink 

     Don’t blink!

It can’t end!

   then…. 

 Like a flash 

All too familiar tunnels

      Fears

         Aches of the soul

Echos…… constantly reminding

      Love…. forever driving

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

   

Love in the Darkness 

​Drowning in a sea of faces 

      Breathing 

           suffocating

              Merely surviving

  …… to what end!?

 one of a billion helpless souls 

            breath, fear, doomed 

        Resides 

  …….festers to the final breath 

      in the silence I welcome the end 

       My eyes close…..

   they open facing an angel 

    a million questions 

       She smiled

    all answered….

My savior 

    A million more…..

           …those can wait 

                   for I feel

Written by: Justin Ludwig sometime between 1999-2012 (Mel Inspiration #2B)

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

I want to Pray for You, Use Me!

​IF YOU BELIEVE IN PRAYER, PLEASE READ THIS!!

https://rawdiscipleblog.wordpress.com/prayer-requests/

If you need prayer, fellowship, and/or need a brother in Christ to lean on, I am here for you. 

I don’t just believe, but I know that as Christians, prayer is the most important, most powerful thing we do. To know someone is there, day or night when your heart is breaking that is ready to pray for you, praise with you, or simply be here to listen can and does change everything.

If you are not a Christian, it’s okay. I love you just as much as the Christian, the Muslim or out right haters of God. But wherever you are at, God loves you. I ask that if you feel that twinge in your stomach,  that pull from the Holy Spirit to reach out, don’t hesitate, don’t think, just respond.

Your prayers and/or messages come directly me, I share them with no one I urge you to leave your email address so I can email you my prayer, praise or comment so you know, without a doubt that you are loved, that you are important,  and that you are being prayed for. Your email will not be given to anyone, this is strickly for you, and for me.

Let me love you, let me pray for you.

https://rawdiscipleblog.wordpress.com/prayer-requests/

Written by Justin Ludwig 

By Grace Alone

​Typical opening

  Laughing

     running

         ……doubt

Typical to the extent of understanding 

typical, becomes branded

   Transformed

Standard to a thumb

  Impressed on my character 

Toeing the line

    ….a flash 

 The dot suddenly in the distance

   Freedom to function 

Functionally dismantling 

Deafening silence…. obstructing the Truth

  Deeper deeper deeper 

Like gazelles 

     Once so free

         Rejoicing in ignorance

Basking in the illusion 

     one by one 

               they fell…..

  Blood stained reality

   Invisible to the sheltered 

     …horrors spoken

Experienced promise

     Monsters 

       …..the whispers 

If you have the ears, you know 

    Bedrock descends

deeper…… deeper 

  Weight is shed

     ….it’s so cold

Starving on only half the story

     Condemned 

          Helpless 

Lost

  Alone

        Confused 

Desperate!!!

  Acceptance…..

deeper and deeper 

      the chasm has no end 

Falling falling falling 

      the depths….

Where deep meets deep

  Sinking

      how far down will I fall 

Down down down 

….. Suddenly 

   Without recognition 

        Down became up! 

I don’t understand…..!

       What!?

            Why!?

                  Me!?

Faster I fall 

  Falling higher 

      Higher and higher

       Blinding light 

Fueling my ascent

Risen from the ashes

  by grace alone 

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Trust Him, No Matter What 

​I remember the drive up to Teen Challenge, it was July 19th 2012. I was a man at the end of my rope. My addiction and self destruction had taken everything from me. 

Once my wife took my kids and split instead of getting sober, I decided to give up. I dove headfirst into my self destruction until it finally put myself out of my misery….. but I just wouldn’t die.

With the sickening amount of drugs, alcohol and horrible decisions… all that happened was the pain got worse…. I just couldn’t die.

But the pain, oh the pain!! I cannot put into words. I would begin screaming in agony at random because the grief, sorrow and regret was just too intense…. I kid you not.

All around me, my friends were dying, going down for murder…. the life of “partying” was long gone….. but my heart continued to beat.

God showed up in handcuffs, and I didn’t even know it. God saved me by giving me a felony and sent me to a year long discipleship. At the time I had no idea He was working. It wasn’t until the third month did His plan begin to become clear.

Have faith my brothers and sisters. In your pain, in your struggles and your impossible circumstances, God is working on something. Every horrible thing that happened to me was crucial to get me where I am. I speak of what I know, and I know that God can be trusted.

Trust His plan, no matter what

He is trustworthy, I promise. 

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

That Moment

​Closest comparison 

  memories from my past

Youth nostalgia

    friction giving birth 

      Aware or not

 Reaction unseen 

       But undeniably felt 

Unexpected only once 

    It’s power never diminished

superficially a graze

 A slightest touch

   Creating it

      …..it

 futility but infinitely

       searching for the words

Those searching 

         never find

  The search a waste

         A true waste

   I’m overrun by it

      ……so fragile

       so amazing

Written by: Justin Ludwig sometime between 1999-2012 (Mel Inspired)

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

Holy Spirit is A Gentlemen

Holy Spirit is a Gentlemen and His truth is not to be forced upon anyone. (Matt 10:14) 

Some non believers feel they are being bible thumped, which is pushing them further from God. At the same time, some christians think that the great commission requires them to hound and pressure everyone to follow Christ. This is not how Holy Spirit works.

 It is our love that will open their eyes to the Truth. If someone doesn’t want to hear it, move on….don’t bible thump. It is our job to present the Truth, it is not our job to convert, that is God’s job. Love in action, no condemnation or pressure.

Love atheists, muslims and God haters the same way you love christians. That is how people will come to the Truth. Unreserved love, with no agenda.  So come on church, the world is waiting…. and they don’t even know it. 


Written by: Justin Ludwig 

Prayer,Motives and Truth 

​Some Christians say we are to pray in secret. That God values the intimacy and a very personal, private prayer life with us, which is true. They/we believe that prayer should be motivated by nothing other than the sincere longing for His presence and fellowshipping with Him, and I couldn’t agree more. 

What concerns me is, from time to time I have seen people who hold so tightly to specific scriptures, which have led them to go as far as to feel it is a misuse of prayer to proclaim blessings, to make “spectacles”, to lay hands and pray aloud for others.
Matthew 6 5-15 says,

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him..”

This scripture displays the importance of the motivation of our prayer lives. It supports the importance for a private, personal prayer life. Telling us clear as day to be humble in our prayers and to not make it about us by having motives other than the desire for sincere fellowship with Him. Based on this scripture they are absolutely right.

(This next part I wanted to emphasize that I am not trying to preach. I speak boldly because I genuinely love Jesus, His church, and you. Our church is everything to me and I want to strengthen it, so with that said )

As followers of Christ we have to know what we believe! We must be careful not to base our understanding about prayer, grace…. anything for that matter, from one passage, or from one sermon, it is dangerous! Be the good Berean. (Acts 17:11) 

When we are at a church service, if we are going up and pray out loud so everyone can see how “holy” or “Christian” we are…. we would be as bad as the Pharisees…… If we do do this; pray in loud voices, with all the “proper” words for all to hear, in the hopes of impressing others…..we would be choosing our own ego over His desires. Using God in an attempt to make ourselves look good, better… or more “christian”. We would be choosing ourselves over God.

Now, if we see a person hurting, alone or we just feel the Holy Spirit telling us to go pray boldly for someone for no particular reason, it’s about God, it’s about love…..not us. We don’t just write it down and pray for them later in private, we love in action! (1 John 3:18)

When the Spirit moves in our hearts and an outpouring of prayer and/or praise takes place, we must respond…. but it always comes down to motivation.

Just you, and Him…. wherever that may be. 

This scripture’s lessons about humility and the importance of motivation is crucial to a successful prayer life…. but there is more. The more you dig into the scriptures, you learn that there is more to prayer than intimacy…. there is power! 

There is another group of Christians; people motivated and driven by the Holy Spirit, driven to step out in faith and approach people, to pray openly for healing, grace and salvation, led by the Spirit’s love, guidance and power. There are many scriptures that support this truth about actively praying for the world in this way as well. A few include; Matt 5 14-16, Acts 13:3, 5:14-15, (more on request)

Both of these are scripturally accurate….. but just like everything in our walk with Christ, it’s a matter of motivation. We cannot walk in blindness, pride or fear, but with and always by the guidance of Holy Spirit. And when we do that. … Ohh man!!

Holy Spirit I ask that You spark a revival amongst Your children and teach us. Teach us to pray as You desire, to love like You and to lift each other up in prayer and petition from the right heart. Help us to hear Your voice and to be equally bold as well as humble. In Jesus name I pray this, amen

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

We’re Blessed, not Failures 

​At the feet of our Hero, we try hard to learn….. But the lessons are lost sometimes….. because we aren’t perfect……. but we’re blessed to know. Know that You are our Savior….. One I don’t deserve.

 I will always follow…. for where else shall I go. You are my Hero…… for You, my heart burns.

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

Scream Love 

​The love and grace of God is my story. I am a follower of Christ and couldn’t be prouder to say that. If you knew my story you would understand why I am so grateful to call myself a christian. 

The topic of Christ is a touchy one for some. I get that, and I can respect it. I recognize there is such a stigma with christianity and it is pushing the non believer further away from christians. Non believers seem to just expect judgment, hypocrisy, hatered, or dare I say, straight ridiculousness right off the bat… and I am sorry to have to admit it, but I can’t blame them… and it’s up to us to change that.

I share often, but only because  it’s so important to me.  There’s a punk song that I think of often, that repeats “I gotta keep screaming,  til my voice is heard.”  And what I, what we as christians are, or should  be screaming, is love, hope and grace. We/I are screaming that if you allow Him…. He will change you from the inside out, and you will be blessed in ways you never dared dream. 

There is nothing I can I say to convince a non believer that there is a God, and I accept that. My heart breaks for those who mock or will never encounter the tangible love of God. To those of you, all I can say, from an honest and sincere heart is…… God is real, and I pray that you will have that encounter with Him.
Written by: Justin Ludwig 

I Trust So I Wait 

What do I do

  What do I do?

     What! 

Frantic conflict

 Peaceful…… fear

   Terrified, but with hope 

Letting go …..

    I have to do something!

  ……”wait”

      Waiting

Accomplished only by the determined

  Attacks 

      Lies and pain

 Ensured so endured 

Truest test of faith

 …..waiting 

From my core …. I believe 

…. but he pain does not subside 

What do I do!

   Trust

I do, but……..

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

Live in Grace, Today is New 

​Today, is a brand new day. 

A new day to do better than yesterday… it is not a day to beat yourself for not doing better yesterday. I feel someone needed to hear that this morning. Whoever you are, this is for you. 

Your past doesn’t dictate your future, today does, live accordingly. 

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on towardthe goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 3:13-14 

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

Over Them, I Weep 

​Time is just slipping away….

      Slipping….

Already gone

 In their beds…..where the rain falls often

       Far far away……

    …they grow 

       To my core I weep

I have my hope, but lost my heart 

       I weep….

Shadows of past sins 

  Some never leave

Lessons of vigilance constant

   Always there

 Pain…… sorrow

        I weep

 Sadness over the loss of the present 

       Far far away

Do they know my heart……

 I hope they know

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

Want to Change a Life?  Here is Your Chance!

Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I say this proudly and without hesitation to anyone,because He saved me from a living hell. He grabbed ahold of me and changed me…. I truly became a new person. I say it proudly because I am so grateful for what He has done for me, for us.

I write about my faith, my God, and my belief all the time. Right now, I want to put my faith into action and invite you. I want to invite you to make a real difference in this broken world, to affect real change. There are two links below which will take you to two donor letters that I wrote last night. They are for two ministries, one builds homes for the working poor down in Ensenada. I went down there last year and did it, and it was truly amazing, I share about it in the letter. The other ministry is sponsoring children to get their education. They cannot afford to go to school because they are poor, and they are poor because they have no education. It is a tragic cycle and this is also down in Ensenada, the level of poverty is truly heartbreaking.

I am offering you an amazing opportunity to love, in action and change lives. Please click the link and read my letters.

Thank you and God Bless

Baja Educational Initiative. Help End Poverty with Education 

Baja Bound, Building Homes For The Working Poor 

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

You Needed Prayer, Here I Am 

https://rawdiscipleblog.wordpress.com/prayer-requests/

 ​

Life sucks sometimes… It hurts,  it’s unfair, we get afraid, angry or downright hateful or just can’t let go. I want to invite you to let me pray for you. You don’t have to be a Christian, you don’t have to be anything.

The support of someone who genuinely cares can make all the difference. I am offering a word of hope and a blessing over your life, I’m not looking to convert anyone 🙂 

 If even for a second, you felt that twinge to act on this, please click the link and let me lift you up.  No tricks, no strings, no ads or mailing lists. Just love and hope.

https://rawdiscipleblog.wordpress.com/prayer-requests/

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

Unity or Destruction by Division 

I watch what is happening to us, to our country. We are ripping apart at the seams and it has seems to have snowballed to the brink of chaos. I fear the day either Trump or Clinton takes office. But no matter who is in office, IF we as countrymen; black white,christian, muslim, etc. unite, we can dictate the future of our county without the very real fear of what Trump or Clinton will do to this country, while they have is too busy fighting against each other. We are Americans, not government subjects and we need to remember that…  What is it going to take for us to unite together?  There is so much bad blood, so much anger, suspicion and hate in this country….. It’s a never ending cycle it seems, the division. What are we to do? What will it take for us, as a country, as a people to come together? These are the questions that keep me up at night, and make me fear for my kids future. I am watching everyone turn on each other, the media is fueling the fire with bias crap for more ratings, for money from their corporate sponsors airing only what benefits the sponsor and God only knows what other motives, and the public just believes every word. And our government…. despite what your views are in politics you have to admit , there are very serious issues going on and it’s quite apparent that they do not have our best interest at heart anymore.

Uniting is our only hope; you, me, us, “them”, it’s up to each of us.I am not trying to preach but something has to be done….. and I wish I knew what it would take. Black lives matter,  yes absolutely, blue lives matter,  absolutely. The list is all inclusive. In every group we got the d bags; the racist cops, the people responsible for the violence by BLM, christians who spew hate and have blown buildings up, muslim terrorists, the list goes on.

I am not shouting All lives matter to counter BLM….it’s just everyone is desperately struggling to matter these days, everyone is struggling  to want to be treated fairly.  And these things are all things worth fighting for. But I am afraid that while everyone is busy fighting for their own rights, our country as a whole will fracture to the point of no return. Our country is on the brink of something serious, and it really is up to us if we will survive it. United we stand divided we fall.  I stand by each and everyone of you because you matter and you’re worthy of respect. Pass that same respect to every person you see. Every single one of us needs to be the change.

Lord, I invite Your Spirit to take control of this country. Stir in every heart a desire for unity, for peace  and love. Father, expose the corruption, bring about change. Heal the past hurts of each heart  and brings us together. We are falling apart and need Your help Father. Please Lord, unite us, and protect us bring pece to this country’s people. In Jesus name, amen)

We Love You, Right Where You’re At

​Why is it such an uncomfortable topic, Christianity? 

I think through a lifetime of bad experiences, we have all encountered christians that twist our faith into something hateful or full of judgment. 

Time and time again we see christians say one thing, and then do another. Who speak of love and then in the same breathe speak judgment or hate…… I want you to know, there is a whole world of us. Christians who love you, right where you are at. Whether you are an atheist, agnostic, Muslim, democrat or a republican, we love you, truly and sincerely. There is a world full of Christians who know that we are not better than you. We don’t judge you, we don’t look down or condemn you. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, I say this proudly because Christ is love, Christ is unity. And that is a beautiful thing.

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

We All Need Prayer

We all need someone to intercede for us. We need someone who loves us and who wants to pray for us and who we can sing His praises to.

Unity and love is key in the body of Christ. If the Spirit is drawing you, click on the link and let me pray for you. I am involved in no marketing whatsoever and I have no ulterior motives. 

I have a sincere enthusiasm to watch the Spirit work, and encourage you to take part 

https://rawdiscipleblog.wordpress.com/prayer-requests/

Why God Excites Me 

​People ask me, “Why do I get so excited about God”, I can only smile at what flows through my mind.

I get excited about God for saving me from a life of addiction. From a life of self loathing, hatred and constant pain. I get excited about God because He loves me, every part if me and always will. He has saved me from an eternity of suffering and punishment, from hell on earth and He has saved me from myself….

We read of who He is in the scriptures and we believe. We believe the stories, the prophecies and the promises, but sometimes we can have the tendency to view God as a God of the past, or a God of the future. But the truth is,”God is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Heb 13:8) Which means He is alive and active today, just like in the days of the Apostles and that is an awesome exciting thing!  I am excited because I have experienced His “impossible” works, first hand and I have witnessed things that cannot be denied. 

I get excited because God is real! His power and His presence is real and He not only wants to work in our lives, but He wants to use us to bless others and to change the world through love, one person at a time.

God is hope, God is love, God is good. 

He is alive and active and I love it! 

Written by: Justin Ludwig

God is Speaking, Are we Listening?

There is a man standing on his roof during a torrential rain and the water is rising so fast. He calls out to God saying “You know I love and follow You, please save me!!”

 Moments later a boat pulls up and they say “come with us, we will save you!” The man on the roof says “No that’s ok, Im waiting for God to save me”. The boat leaves and shortly after that, a helicopter appears overhead saying “Grab the rope, or you going to die!”. The man on the roof replies “No that’s ok, I’m waiting on God to save me” So the helicopter leaves and shortly after that the water engulfed him and he drowns.

 When he got to heaven, he asked God, “Why didn’t you save me? You know I love You!?” And God replys “I sent you a boat and a helicopter, what else did you want Me to do??” 

How many times in our lives are we waiting and waiting to hear from God, but feel like we are not being answered? Everyone would love to get a clear cut answer from a loud booming voice from the sky or a burning bush experience. When in reality God works so much more practically. He speaks into our hearts, through those around us and through situations. My prayer for everyone, myself included is that we stop waiting for God to “speak” to us and just listen to what He is already saying.


Written by: Justin Ludwig 

Brokenness Inspires Hope

Brokenness is beautiful

Inspires hope

An embedded reluctance within

hiding the weakness in fear

dare I expose my truth?

  ….”no!”

     …”strength”!

 

 Compulsions emerge

Masks

Confidence

Smiles…..

     whitewashed leaders taking point

facades of perfection

Incarcerated in secret walls of shame and sin.

Brokenness is leadership

   Vulnerability

  Everyone is broken…..all alone

……..They must know!

          We are one

……. we struggle

Humility, vulnerability, brokeness

Righteousness, aside from Christ, does not give hope, brokenness does.

 

“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong”2 Cor 12: 9-11

“Whenever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. “Ps 28:13

“It is better to be humble in Spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” -Ps. 16:19

   “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.”Ps34:18

God desired authenticity, not an illusion of righteousness.  No matter what your head tells you, it is OK to hurt,  it is okay to doubt, and it’s  impossible not to fail. Share your trials and shortcomings with enthusiasm and I promise the authenticity of your heart will speak volumes more than playing it off like we got it all together or having all the perfect answers.

Keep your witnessing genuine and your love overflowing and watch the Spirit work! This right here is how we can make a difference in this broken world.

 

Written by: Justin Ludwig

The Story of 2 Timothy 

​The writer of 2 Timothy was the apostle Paul.  Paul was a man that gave his everything to God.  Before Christ revealed Himself to Paul, he was known as Saul of Tarsus.  He was born in Tarsus in Cilicia around A.D. 1–5 in a province in the southeastern corner of modern day Tersous, Turkey.  He was of Benjamite lineage and Hebrew ancestry.  He was a pharisee who hunted down, imprisoned, and even murdered Christians.  He participated in the stoning of the first Christian martyr, Stephen, and was possibly the overseer of that execution.  This was a man who would not tolerate any disrespect to God, which is why he hated the Christians in the first place. Saul, with all his murderous hate towards Christians, requested a letter from the high priest to present to all the synagogues in Damascus that any follower of Christ was to be imprisoned in Jerusalem.  On his way to Damascus to present and in force this order, the resurrected Christ appeared to him in a flash from heaven, asking Saul, “Why do you persecute Me?”  Christ in all of His glory revealed Himself to Saul as the Son of God.

    It is a common misconception that God changed Saul’s name to Paul once the conversion took place on that road to Damascus, like when Jesus changed Simon’s name to Cephas, which translates to Peter.  In actuality, all of his life he had the dual names Saul and Paul, which was custom in those days.  The reason for the switch was because before Christ, Saul, being a pharisee and obviously very proud if his Jewish heritage, chose to go by Saul.  Once he began preaching Christ to the Gentiles, he decided to change it to Paul since this was a name that the Gentiles were familiar with.  Paul is an amazing example of the transformation Christ can have in even the hardest of hearts, and that His grace is extended to the worst of the worst.  Once Paul’s eyes were opened to the truth, he dedicated the remainder of his life to preaching the gospel to the world.  Paul was very intentional with his ministry.  In 2 Corinthians 11 for example, before he lists the hardships he has endured for the sake of the gospel, he points out all of his qualifications as a Jew; bringing up his lineage and accomplishments as a pharisee, in order that they will hear what he has to say about Christ.  This is a man who was flogged 5 times, beaten with rods and shipwrecked 3 times, and stoned once.  Paul was the greatest apostle by demonstrating his unwavering devotion to Christ under such extreme opposition.  Not only that, but the grace and power that God blessed him with shows that nobody, not a single soul, is too evil or too far gone to be restored and renewed by Christ’s love, sacrifice and grace.

The letter of 2 TImothy was written approximately A.D. 66 or 67.  Paul was imprisoned yet again in Rome for his preachings of Christ as the Messiah.  This time though, Paul knew that his earthly mission was coming to an end and that he would soon be executed.  This book contains Paul’s final words to his young protege Timothy, essentially passing the torch of leadership on to him.  Timothy’s father was a heathen Greek and his mother was a Jewess named Eunice.  It was Timothy’s mother and grandmother, Lois, who instilled such a strong faith in Timothy.  Timothy heard the gospel from Paul on his first missionary trip in either Lystra or Derbe and believed the Truth.  Based on Acts 14:6, Acts 20:4 and Acts 16:3, it can be inferred that Timothy was a native of Lystra, but that is not definite.  On Paul’s second missionary trip, when he returned to Timothy’s town to preach again, Timothy joined him on his missionary journey.  On this trip, they traveled to Phrygia, Galatia, Mysia, Troas, Neapoils, Philippi, Amphipolis, Apollonia, Thessalonica, Berea, and Corinth, which is when Paul wrote the book of Romans.  Timothy’s faithfulness continued through Paul’s earthly ministry and he was the pastor of the church at Ephesus when this letter was written. 

After Paul expressed much love for Timothy in the opening of the letter, he reminded Timothy of the qualities that would be necessary for him to continue a faithful ministry of Jesus Christ: boldness, love and self discipline.  He called Timothy to join his suffering for the gospel for the sake of Christ and to always use his gifts with boldness.  He reminded Timothy to always keep to the truth and to keep his eyes focused on Christ.  Paul challenged him to hold to sound doctrine, to reject error and to correctly handle the word of Truth.  He warned Timothy of the opposition that he and other believers would face in the last days from self-centered people who use the church for their own gain and who will teach false doctrine.  Paul told him to prepare for dealing with these unfaithful people.  He reminded Timothy to follow his example by emulating his way of life, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions and sufferings.  Paul continued by articulating to Timothy the proper functions of the word of God.  “That all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17)

In the final chapter, Paul gave a stirring charge to Timothy to preach the Word, be prepared in every season, and to use God’s word to correct, rebuke and encourage others, with great patience and careful instruction.  He forewarned Timothy that in the later days, people wouldn’t follow sound doctrine.  They would begin searching elsewhere for answers that better suit their selfish desires.  He encouraged Timothy to keep his head up, endure hardship, and to do the work of an evangelist.

In the closing remarks, you can really see Paul’s loneliness being revealed, his feelings of betrayal, and his strong love for his brothers and sisters in Christ.  I have always really liked this letter.  I have a hard time with people.  Since becoming a Christian, honestly I have had a hard time loving the way that God desires of me.  Throughout this letter, Paul expresses and assures Timothy that he is going to encounter extremely hateful, selfish, wicked people who will seek to harm him and his mission.  Paul’s instruction is not to back down, but move forward with love, patience and endurance.  A man who had experienced so much pain and persecution, insists that God will deliver us, so we must love them in the hopes that they will come to the Truth.  I guess I can only speak for myself but this instruction to Timothy might as well have my name in place of him because it feels like Paul is talking directly to me.  When we are confronted by the many haters, perpetrators or instigators of our faith, we must stand firm in Christ’s truth, and always respond with patience and love.

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Bibliography

Got questions.org

http://www.godvine.com/bible/2-timothy/2-18 Albert Barnes’ notes

Zondervan Study bible app

Zondervan Life Application study bible, niv

Podcasts 

http://thebiblestudypodcast.com/bible-studies-book-studies/bible-study-2-timothy/ 

Parallel Resource  

http://www.biblestudytools.com/compare-translations/ 

I am here and ready, for You

​IF YOU BELIEVE IN PRAYER, PLEASE READ THIS!!

https://rawdiscipleblog.wordpress.com/prayer-requests/

If you need prayer, fellowship, and/or need a brother in Christ to lean on, I am here for you. 

I don’t just believe, but I know that as Christians, prayer is the most important, most powerful thing we do. To know someone is there, day or night when your heart is breaking that is ready to pray for you, praise with you, or simply be here to listen can and does change everything.

If you are not a Christian, it’s okay. I love you just as much as the Christian, the Muslim or out right haters of God. But wherever you are at, God loves you. I ask that if you feel that twinge in your stomach,  that pull from the Holy Spirit to reach out, don’t hesitate, don’t think, just respond.

Your prayers and/or messages come directly me, I share them with no one I urge you to leave your email address so I can email you my prayer, praise or comment so you know, without a doubt that you are loved, that you are important,  and that you are being prayed for. Your email will not be given to anyone, this is strickly for you, and for me.

Let me love you, let me pray for you.

https://rawdiscipleblog.wordpress.com/prayer-requests/

Written by Justin Ludwig 

You are Loved

​I was suddenly overwhelmed by the Spirit to tell you, this very second, that God loves you so much. That sin that nobody knows about, that secret shame that you are carrying. God want you to know that He knows… and He says “it’s ok, He loves you.” 

We have a hard time forgiving ourselves…… loving ourselves. Never forget that God adores you, right in your mess, your mistakes,and your sin. You are loved, and that will never change.

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

Love, Not Knowledge

With all of the theology, all of the “religion” and knowledge…. if the result of all of this isn’t an out pouring of love towards the world, then the entire point was missed.

Don’t make excuses, just love. Don’t ignore, just love. Love, because it is the best thing we do…. because God is love and His love is made perfect, when we love.

The world will not come into the saving embrace of Christ’s grace through theology…. They will be saved by simple, pure love.

1 John 4:11-12

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

Trust His Plan

wp-1509728802651.jpgThere is this toddler, he is going about his day and comes across a paperclip. He sees this paperclip and wonders to himself, “What’s the purpose of this,  what can I use it for?” Then like a beacon of light, he notices two holes sitting at the base of the wall. It must seem like such a clear and obvious answer. It fits, so this stick must go into that hole. So he walks over and begins to place this piece of metal into the socket and out of nowhere, his dad runs in and smacks his hand and begins to scold him…..

I don’t know what must be going through that kid’s mind when the smack connected and the yelling started. I bet he wasn’t thinking, “My dad loves me so much, thank you for smacking me and yelling at me.” No, in the confusion and hurt he blames his dad, because he doesn’t understand. “Why would you do that to me!?” I hate you, you are so mean, I thought you loved me!”

This child was completely oblivious to the fatal mistake he was about make. A mistake that there quite possibly was no coming back from. Yet, it made sense to him; it fits, it’s here, this must be what I should do.  In the moment he cannot see that what his father had just done was save his child’s life, saved him from extreme pain…. he saved his child from destroying himself.

There are times in my walk with Christ when I feel like this child. When it feels like I am serving God to the best of my ability, but doors seem to constantly slam shut, my heart gets broken or I feel like God is depriving me from some blessing.

This toddler eventually learns exactly why his father did what he did, and only then can he realize what would have happened if he was able to do what he thought was a good idea.

When God closes the door on your dream job, trust Him. When the love of your life leaves you and you feel like your world is coming to an end, trust Him.

It is so easy when we don’t get what we want, when we want it, how we want it to turn on God. To blame God for withholding our blessings, or to come to the conclusion that He doesn’t love us and that’s why He stopped us from achieving our goal.

Time and time again, when I look back over my life I am amazed at what He saved me from, and I had no clue that I needed saving.

No matter what, trust Him. Because He is trustworthy and one day it will all become clear.

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Unity through Love

​It seems disagreement instantly incites insults, hate and strife. What if, and nowadays it’s a big what if, but what if we discussed instead of insulted. If we are so passionate about our beliefs and want others to see what we see. How can we ever hope for change and unite as a peope if we dig our heals in and say “nope, my way’s right and you are an idiot.” I am not here to lecture, I am sharing to say, unity is the only hope we have. Discuss and share out of love, because if anger and frustration is your motivator, all that will be created is further division. At this point in our country if we do not unite, even when we don’t agree, we are doomed. I am not saying change your beliefs to keep the peace. What I am saying is just voice it through love….always through love, and you will be amazed at the changes that will take place.

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

God Will Cover the Impossible, Just Get Back Up

​It is so easy to become overwhelmed by our situation. It is so easy for the burdens of our trials, the shackles of our shortcomings, or the illusion of hopelessness to blanket us.

  I have seen and experienced many amazing things with and from God. I have been touched by God in ways that changed everything….. I have felt His power. But to be honest,  I still catch myself at times believing that God is not enough.

With the pain of loss, the continuous consequences of past sins crashing over me day after day, year after year, I sometimes find myself feeling defeated. I find myself suddenly feeling out of control. So tired of trying to fight the good fight that I can’t seem to summon the strength, the drive, or desire to even want to stand up again and keep going. These feelings of doubt and defeat well up in me more often than I care to admit. And when they do, I feel heavy, I feel flooded with a hopeless feeling that things won’t work out…. that I am kidding myself and I need to just give up. This morning was one of those mornings, and without asking Him for clarity, He presented me with a passage.

“Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, He asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.” – John 5:1-9

This man was blinded by his situation. This man was consumed by his very real problems and his very real pain. I think it is safe to say we have all tasted a portion of what this man lived up until this encounter at some point in our lives.

“I have wasted my entire life, I don’t know any other way… I can’t change”, “You don’t understand how hard it is for me, there is no happy ending for me, I deserve this!”…., “I just can’t do it. I am tired of hoping, I am tired of fighting… I  give up.”

The Spirit smacked me I’m the face this morning with this truth. When Jesus asks this man, “Do you want to get better”, the invalid could only reply with why he couldn’t get better. All the invalid could see was the hopelessness of his situation. All he could see was the impossibility of his healing, of change in his situation.

In all of this man’s disbelief Jesus met him. In the incredibly painful, hopeless life that this man lived, Jesus has but two words for him, “Get up!”

It doesn’t matter if we cannot see any hope in our situation. In a life broken beyond repair, Jesus doesn’t ask us to fix it, to do better,  or to try harder. He simply wants us to trust Him enough to stand back up, so He can do the impossible for us. 

Don’t lose heart in your situation, just stand back up and keep following Him. And when you do, I promise you, He will come through for You, probably in a way you never saw coming.

He is trustworthy, He is good and He is capable. My prayer is that every one of us will never forget that.

“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” -2 Thess 3:5

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Surrender 

​Greatest Enemy 

             oneself 

      sickening irony 

       Its one in the same 

           the problem 

             the solution 

        infuriating cycle 

               Halt the cycle!

       Reality, what is it

   Unbelievably painful 

         Life’s Deal

    Futile winning

      …… simply procrastinating

Written by: Justin Ludwig sometime between 1999-2012

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

Power is prayer, I am ready

**Please Read ** Prayer Is Power!!

I felt led to share this invitation  again. I want to pray for you and support you. Our fellowship and support gives us such strength and encouragement.

https://rawdiscipleblog.wordpress.com/prayer-requests/

You don’t know me and I don’t know you. If you are a Christian brother or sister then we are one.  If you are not a Christian no worries, I just want you to know that you are loved.  By myself, my fellow christians and most importantly by Jesus Christ. With that said,

I feel that prayer is the most important thing we can do in our lives as a Christian. To support each other, to be able to lift each other up in love to the Father is such an awesome thing. I truly believe in the power of prayer and experience it’s effectiveness time and time again. As we grow deeper in our prayer lives we come to know our God on a much closer and deeper level. I would love to pray for you and I always love to hear how God is coming through for you. If you include your email I will email you my prayer for you. I don’t put you on
emailing lists and don’t care about marketing. The sole purpose of this is for me to lift up your prayers and support you any way I can.

This link simply navigates within my own blog to the prayer requests. I encourage you to put your email so I can email you back a prayer so you can read what I prayed for. Either way, prayer is power y’all!! God bless and take advantage,  you have a man ready to pray for you, with no motivate other than I want God to work in your life.

https://rawdiscipleblog.wordpress.com/prayer-requests/

“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance”- 2 Thess 3:5

Justin Ludwig

Wandering 

​ Begin journey 

          an eternity ago

    fixed on a destination

          the only oasis  

              years I traveled 

          fixed on a point 

   this point I saw

Every night as slept 

          As I dreamt 

I felt mad 

        …….for it dreamed of me 

it was my purpose 

       To stand in my dream

 Basking in it with my waking eyes

            so I trudged on 

then night came

       I lost my way 

 unaware how

  Faith, dreams Drive

         Unchanged 

               So I continued

         on and on… confused, So long the dream began to change

         …… gone

 til it’s not

Written by: Justin Ludwig sometime between 1999-2012

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

He Has a Purpose for Your Pain

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There is always a motivator, an inspiration that is hidden within our pain, our trials and our burdens.

I remember when my dad died, God’s hand seemed to be in everything. From divine appointments, to the the healing that took place in our broken relationship that would not have happened if this painful ordeal had not taken place. The extreme pain and sadness of watching my dad wither away to nothing in such a tragic and slow way filled me with an urgency to increase my love for others. To watch my dad dying while not knowing Christ opened my eyes even wider to the truth of the importance of my witnessing, my ministry and my service. I found myself on fire for God in a way that I would never have thought as a result of such sadness and hurt.

I suddenly was overwhelmed with the fact of how important it is for me to share, proclaim and pray without hesitation or reservation. To share the love and grace of God now, not later.

God does not put these suffocating experiences, these painful trials in our lives for no reason… there is always a reason.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” -Romans 8:28

Knowing this, and believing it with all of my heart to be true, I have been struggling to find my motivator in my present trial. I so desperately want God’s inspiring wisdom on how I can learn and grow from my kids moving so far away from me. My children leaving has left an emptiness in my heart that only a father who so desperately wants his children but cannot have them would understand.

This trial has been a heavy one for me and I have been seeming to sink deeper and deeper into this dark winding road. I have no doubt in God’s faithfulness, in His plan for my life, or His goodness. But I have been feeling thinner as the days of pain wore on with no revealed knowledge on what I am supposed to do with all of this.

I was praying to God the other day ,” I trust You Father, but I can’t see Your hand in this. Please reveal Your purpose for this pain in my life, help me to use it, for Your glory.”

Yesterday I got my answer. I was sitting in IHOP with my wife, overcome with sadness because I was about to fly home again after saying goodbye to my children. As I am sitting there eating my pancakes, the Spirit suddenly brought to mind the book of Hosea.

How God uses the relationship between Hosea and his prostitute wife to show him God’s perspective on how painful it is when you love someone so much, but they constantly cheat on you, leave you, and don’t fully commit themselves to you. Hosea was able to taste a fraction of God’s perspective, how much it grieves our Father when His beloved children don’t stay faithful to Him.

And that’s when it hit me…. this is God’s inspiration in and for my trial.

The extreme heartbreak of watching my children leave me time and time again is almost more than I can bear.  My heart breaks in ways that I simply cannot put into words….. How much more does God weep when we turn from Him?  How much deeper is the heartbreak of a God who loves us an infinite amount more than I am even capable of…. and then the Spirit whispered His response. “Let Me use you to bring them back to Me.”

He has put this pain in my life to remind me of how much He loves us and how desperately He wants His children with Him. He has allowed me to feel such extreme hurt to remind me that I have a job to do. To bring the estranged children of God back to His loving, comforting and saving embrace.

Why do I share this with you? I share this because it is so easy for us to be consumed by our pain and our trials. How easy it is to turn our painful situations into bitterness, anger and hate. How easy it can be to be consumed by hopelessness because God is silent in the midst of our sufferings.

What we as believers must remember is that God has a purpose for every single thing in our lives, especially the painful and hard ones. And if we trust Him in the pain, in the silence and in the hurt no matter what, the Spirit will reveal the purpose of that trial when the time is right and then it will become clear why we had to experience such hurt.

In you pain, loss, chaos or wandering never for a second be fooled into thinking God has forsaken you. He is silent because He is waiting on you to learn what He is trying to teach you.

Never lose hope, because He WILL reveal His purpose, and when He does you will be astonished because you will see that your trials no matter what they are, were imperative so God could bless and use you.

Stay the course my brothers and sisters. He will come through in amazing ways if you trust Him in the darkness and the silence.

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Defending the Faith, Standing Up For Christ

​A conversation with an atheist…

The very statement that you do not believe that the God that I worship to be real, is a contradiction in itself. Let me explain to you what I mean by that. Based on your statement, you recognize that I believe in God. A Being who is perfect in every single way, and that cannot possibly be improved upon. For you to be able to understand of such a Being but do not believe that He exists in reality doesn’t make any sense. Let me break it down for you. If you can understand of the God I speak of. And if you can comprehend the thought of a Being who is absolutely perfect, that cannot be improved upon. Then by the definition of your understanding of God, He must exist in reality, or He would be less than perfect, and could be improved upon. Because if something is perfect but does not exist, it would only be surpassed by perfection in reality. So if you understand the concept of a God that cannot be improved upon, then how is it possible for it not to be real, because that would be an improvement on the understanding you have of God.

To believe that everything in existence came about as a series of random events takes more faith that it does for someone to believe that God is in fact  the creator of everything. Starting with the obvious, I assume that you can understand that it is impossible for something to come from absolutely nothing. With that fact established,  when you push the course of time’s events back far enough, you eventually must come to a beginning. How can nothing, create everything? Then I would think the only rational explanation is that something had to exist before everything, outside of our understanding of time and authority. To believe that everything that has ever existed or ever will exist is the result of a random explosion that birthed everything for no reason, is ludicrous. Okay, say that I can accept that somehow scientifically an explosion would create all things, I would be forced to ask you, “What caused that explosion”. I mean this explosion took place before there was anything… how can that be?  

For a moment, let’s put aside the question of the very beginning of things, and let’s take a look at right now. If you believe that everything around us is the result of completely random events with no purpose or design, then I would like for you to look at a single cell. If you were to put that cell under a powerful microscope you would see what appears to be a little machine. All of the parts and pieces of this “random” thing working so intentionally, with such purpose and function.To look at our most basic of building blocks and to see that it works like a machine. Something that was intentionally constructed for a purpose.  How can random events produce such order? If we were to wait  3 trillion years, do you think it is possible for car engine to be created by nature? If enough random events happen for long enough is it possible for a piece of machinery to just be created?  

How can you explain the  beauty everywhere around us? How are we even able to understand the concept of beauty? Why is it that if you were to look at a painting of a sunset, and an actual sunset, that the real one seems to speak to you on a deeper level somehow. Like something in your soul is rejoicing, just because the earth’s rotation has caused the sun to not be seen for a few hours, just like everyday. But we see these things every day of our life, and they still speak to us, into us. To see such beauty, and for it to speak to you on such a level that cannot be expressed, shows that the world is pointing towards its Creator, Even if those that choose not to believe in God, experience something that they cannot explain, a connection with the world around them, a connection with their Creator.

 Now I would like to talk about us for a second. As humans we all seem to be built with the same sense of right and wrong. Whether an atheist, christian, muslim or scientologist, we all have a very similar understanding of what is right, wrong, good or bad. To murder is bad, but why is it bad? Yes if you get caught you will spend the rest of your life in prison. But what if you knew without a doubt that you would not be caught, would it cease to be bad? No, because deep down inside of us, the thought of a woman or a child being raped or murdered is offensive to everything that we are, why is that? We don’t have to be taught to be repulsed by these things, it is just who we are. To be in such agreement on the very concepts that guide who we are and what we do, that must lead us to realize that there must be a Law Giver who instilled in us the ability to differentiate between the two, otherwise why would we even care? Look at it this way, If there was no authority or law giver in a land or country, that would result in anarchy, correct? For all of us to have the same sense of what is good and what is bad, points without a doubt to one Lawgiver, who made the decision for us, otherwise there wouldn’t be right and wrong, because everybody would would choose differently, and if nobody could agree what what was right, it would cease to be right and it would just be. 
It seems that an atheist’s go to response for why they don’t believe in God, is it takes to much faith. To these people I say, It takes more faith to believe that He doesn’t exist.
Written by: Justin Ludwig

Alone, I am Not

​Unexplainable bond 

    Shared by few 

     Fortunately 

  Appreciated presently 

    Skeptical Still 

  Bond or blood 

     A strong will 

    Suffers undeservingly 

       Wrong or right 

 Alone I’m not 

       Proven failure 

            Repetition  ensues  

 Seeing what is yet unseen 

    Faith 

     Support 

 Forgiveness 

   Deserved?

   …. Not a chance 

            Yet…..

 Remarkably 

 Previously seen in solitude 

       Emerges for some….yet

 Must be understood 

          Support’s the key 

 I hold the key I once shunned 

     A lone drive 

       Long awaited hope 

                Awakens in the depths 

  Differing for all 

          Personally 

   Abandonment of ignorance 

Construction been underway 

     To fill the void 

              Myself 

  …..Unimportant 

            Support never ending

      Awoke a dormant urge 

 A sudden awakening 

            Waste 

  No more 

     Tomorrow is lost 

 Voyage commences instantly 

             Bottom line

        Those never halting 

     Inspire something 

  Unfamiliar situation 

      Alone I’m not 

Written by: Justin Ludwig sometime between 1999-2012.

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

 Love…. Please Love

​We all have our reasons to be angry, to hate, to resent, to judge. We have these burdens and offenses which we have accumulated over the years, every single one of us. Don’t let the corruption of life dominate you, choose love. It is the only hope we have…. hate begets hate. But love disarms, unites and connects. In this horrible, and tragic world, love is our only hope

“Bear with each othrt and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Col. 3:13-14

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” 1 Cor 16:13-14

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

The Gospel is Love

The gospel is simple, when we get over ourselves, and love on the one who is in front of us. That’s it, that’s the gospel.  Love, without obligation, without judgement and without hesitation. Nobody will be impressed by your “religion”, they will be impressed by your love, by Christ’s love. That is how He saves the lost, by simple, pure, passionate love.

Look at this way, if you don’t have Jesus in you, then nobody is going to want what you have.

Jesus is love, represent Him well!

God bless, love furiously, and watch Him work.

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

God Will Not Fail You

God is not capable of failing us…. God is not capable of making mistakes… and He is absolutely, indescribably in love with us.

When my marriage fell apart it hurt so bad, the last thing I was thinking was that this pain was the only way for me to become the man I wanted to be. When my kids moved away from me, it hurt so bad…. the last thing I was thinking was that the excruciating pain of losing my children was exactly what I needed to become the father that I wanted to be, and that my kids so desperately needed me to be. And when I gave up all hope and I finally accepted that I was a lost cause,  the last thing I was thinking was at that moment God was about to change everything. 

This is as much a reminder to myself as it is to you… He will come through, and in a way you will never see coming. 

No matter what your situation is, He is working…. No matter how far down you are, He is working…. and no matter how uncertain your future or present seems, He will come through.

Thank You Father for being so perfect… so trustworthy

“As for God, His way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him” -Ps 18:30

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you” -Deut 31:6

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Demons Within

​open uncertainty

 coarse

         direction?

quite the contrary

  simple outcome

         what!?

bowing to my demons

     ……they’re lurking       

    stagnant and many

thirsting, craving, lusting

   Famished for pain

 Chaos 

Self inflicted annihalation 

  …no reasoning

     motives unclear

delving into the abyss

shall I emerge victorious?

 …..I  am uncertain

Written by: Justin Ludwig sometime between 1999-2012.

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

Power is prayer, I am ready

**Please Read ** Prayer Is Power!!

https://rawdiscipleblog.wordpress.com/prayer-requests/

You don’t know me and I don’t know you. If you are a Christian brother or sister then we are one.  If you are not a Christian no worries, I just want you to know that you are loved.  By myself, my fellow christians and most importantly by Jesus Christ. With that said,

I feel that prayer is the most important thing we can do in our lives as a Christian. To support each other, to be able to lift each other up in love to the Father is such an awesome thing. I truly believe in the power of prayer and experience it’s effectiveness time and time again. As we grow deeper in our prayer lives we come to know our God on a much closer and deeper level. I would love to pray for you and I always love to hear how God is coming through for you. If you include your email I will email you my prayer for you. I don’t put you on
emailing lists and don’t care about marketing. The sole purpose of this is for me to lift up your prayers and support you any way I can.

This link simply navigates within my own blog to the prayer requests. I encourage you to put your email so I can email you back a prayer so you can read what I prayed for. Either way, prayer is power y’all!! God bless and take advantage,  you have a man ready to pray for you, with no motivate other than I want God to work in your life.

https://rawdiscipleblog.wordpress.com/prayer-requests/

“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance”- 2 Thess 3:5

Justin Ludwig

Trapped in the Cycle,  Desperate for Freedom 

Disgusted by Surroundings

         Consumed by Ignorance 

 A lusting of self destruction 

  Dominating states of mind 

         Realization is needed!

      Fates intertwined

       ….. Self Annihilation

    Nauseating Irony 

  Flourishing  on Destruction

     The tragedy,  it’s deserved

        as fair as it gets

   destination?

        Quite obvious

  Yet we remaining happily oblivious 

       Once clarity takes hold

            ……. too late

         Tragic 

               Deserved

Written by: Justin Ludwig sometime between 1999-2012.

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

Your Have the Power, Trust Him

​Every day I listen to Christians. Some speak of love, some speak of judgement. But one thing I have heard time and time again, is this,

“Oh I wish I had the gift of healing, but I am no Todd White or Heidi Baker. I can’t evangelize like Kim Walker or Will Hart. That would be amazing to have such power, to have God use me in such amazing ways, but…..” 

and that’s usually where the statement ends.

Heidi Baker, Darrin Wilson, Todd White, Kim Walker, Will Hart, the list goes on and on. It seems sometimes people put these Christians on a pedestal, viewing them as the “extraordinary christians” who have some exclusive power or gift that we have no hope of receiving, let alone performing.

And with those doubts, we put the power of God in our lives in a box, cutting ourselves off from being used by God for these very same miracles, revivals, and ministries.

We as Christians have to realize that our doubt in the power of God is the only thing standing in our way from the miraculous. Our doubt is the only roadblock stopping us from being used in such a way that will blow minds, heal bodies, cast out demons and glorify God to the extent that He desires, by making the impossible possible so the world can see that this is for real, that He is for real, and that we are loved in such a way that we will never fully comprehend.

You want to know a secret about these “extraordinary christians”,  they are nothing special. Not to say that their faith in God or the things that they are doing are not extraordinary, because they are. What I am saying is that the gift that they received to be able to do these incredible things is the exact same gift that every one of us as believers has been given, the Spirit of God.

It is not Heidi who restores sight to the blind, it is God. It is not Todd who strengthens the legs of those who cannot walk so they are able to stand and walk after years of being crippled, it is the power of God, in him.

Do not limit what God can do through you…because God is limitless.  Let go of all the understanding and logic that this world has embedded in us from birth and know that God’s power is alive and active in you. 

 I cannot emphasis enough that you CAN do these things, if you believe in His power, love and faithfulness.

My prayer is for a revival of the Spirit, let’s step out on faith and get started!!

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Lost in Darkness 

​Empty

    she got it 

        like so many

or claimed to

    darkness

        silent to smoke

    ending my life

          methodically

    intricately

…. slowley

the calls stopped

        they call 

    some call

I can’t answer!

    fear

of what?

     Being saved

being loved

    saved from my hell

    how sick

once a child’s boast

    now his cancer

those who know me

  assumptions run rampant

…… yet wrong

I feel it growing

        deep from within

    won’t delve deeper

        wont!!

    those who know, know

Disgusted by Surroundings

         Consumed by Ignorance 

 A lusting of self destruction 

  Dominating states of mind 

         Realization is needed!

      Fates intertwined

       ….. Self Annihilation

    Nauseating Irony 

  Flourishing  on Destruction

     The tragedy,  it’s deserved

        as fair as it gets

   destination?

        Quite obvious

  Yet we remaining happily oblivious 

       Once clarity takes hold

            ……. too late

         Tragic 

               Deserved

  Disgusted by Surroundings

         Consumed by Ignorance 

 A lusting of self destruction 

  Dominating states of mind 

         Realization is needed!

      Fates intertwined

       ….. Self Annihilation

    Nauseating Irony 

  Flourishing  on Destruction

     The tragedy,  it’s deserved

        as fair as it gets

   destination?

        Quite obvious

  Yet we remaining happily oblivious 

       Once clarity takes hold

            ……. too late

         Tragic 

               Deserved

Written by: Justin Ludwig  November 14 2011.

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

A Light in the Darkness 

I heard something recently that has really been weighing on me. A few days ago I was listening to a Christian talking to another. In this conversation I heard them say, “I only like to be with Christians, you know, people like me. After all, what fellowship can light have with darkness?”

This way of thinking really bothers me. Essentially, what they are saying is I don’t care if that person or people come to Christ, as long as I am comfortable and protected.

This is the opposite of the gospel! 

We are called to go, to go into the darkest corners of this world and shine His glory. To spread the new about Christ, through love not judgment.

As I thought about this, I began to think about myself 5 years ago. I was strung out, I would cut myself and blatantly curse God….. I was completely and utterly consumed by darkness, I was hopeless. And if this mentality reigned, I would not be the man I am today, saved…free. I had no idea that God wasn’t mad at me and the way I was treated by christians it only re affirmed what I though I knew. People saw my tattoos, scars and hate and would avoid me. They would avoid the darkness, apparently completely unaware that I desperately,desperately needed God’s grace and love in my life, and I didn’t even know it

Without light, darkness reigns, it is as simple as that. And to hear a follower of Christ write off someone because they are consumed by darkness really upset me.

God loves Mormons, Atheists, Muslims, devil worshippers. He loves them with the same intensity and sincerity that He does the believers. And by demonizing a person or group, we ourselves have fallen into the devil’s trap, because the enemy doesn’t want that person to hear about Christ. He wants the christian judging the lost, the lost avoiding christians. This how the devil gets down y’all. 

Stop playing into his traps and love without judgement, without reservation and you will see first hand what type of fellowship light has with darkness. It’s life changing… eternity saving.

It is not somebody else’s responsibility to speak to the lost, the hurting and the broken… it’s yours and it’s mine.

We are called to go, and love.

God bless

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

His Message Will be Heard

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​I went camping with my wife up in the Sequoias this weekend. I woke up early, I walked away from the site and I sat on a rock overlooking a path. It is so quite, so empty, yet so full. I sit here in complete awe and humility at how incredibly rare and precious I am. At the same time I cannot help but recognize how insignificant I really am….  so I begin to pray, but I cannot. It happens sometimes, when I don’t even know where to begin.

I told the Spirit, “I don’t know what I want, I am drowning Lord. Drowning in my hurt, sorrow., it’s so heavy, Father”….. and I stopped….. “Holy Spirit,  I don’t know… please look deep into my heart, intercede for me.”

Suddenly the Spirit overwhelmed me with the awareness that I needed to just shut up and listen, of what I am never sure.

…so i became silent

As I sit here, still, complete silence all around me. I see a bird fly over head.  I don’t know what kind of bird it was, but it was small. It didn’t make a sound, but I looked up and saw him sitting on the top of a tree. He glanced my direction, then chirped.

His chirp caught me off guard because it echoed in the rocks, off the mountain side and through the trees. It was so loud but not abrasive whatsoever. It really caught my attention because the bird was so small.

Once the echo stopped I heard a response from a different bird.  Many birds seeming to have a response of their own to this lone bird’s cry. These ones sounded like crows or something. It’s caw was so gruff, so negative sounding.  There were so many responding at once, which made it quite loud as well. In the middle of these crows response,  I kid you not, the little bird looked at me again, then let out another single chirp…. immediately the crows squawking stopped…..

The bird stood on that tree top, silent after his two surprisingly loud chirps. Suddenly in the distance I heard a similar chirp, perhaps from the one he was calling…… he glanced my direction and was gone.

….silence.

In the midst of the silence, in the midst of the haters, the negativity or even yourself, listen for the cry of the Spirit. His voice will silence what needs to be silenced and He will say what needs to be said.

The cry of that little bird reminded me that no matter how loud the cackle of the world, or the silence of your trial. His voice will penetrate, if you ask Him to speak. And over all those who oppose you, the message will reach the one it is intended for.

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Faith in the Divine

​As a christian, I have found divine healing to be a dividing topic. Some feel that miracles of these types occurred back in biblical times because back then we did not have the Spirit, and they were needed to demonstrate His power. That these miracles occurred just so the people would see who He was, the Messiah.

Recently the Spirit had been convicted me about my hesitancy to pray for healing that defys the secular understanding….  A rebuilding of the body, or restoring the sight of the blind.  These are things that are hard for us to wrap our minds around, and that is because our finite minds get in the way, we don’t truly believe that He will do it. 

Is it possible that our lack of faith is what is stopping us from experiencing these miracles?  Not to say that healing is always is God’s will, but at times it is, to point the world to His power, His love, His grace….But we must believe and trust.

I have heard people say that perhaps the reason that other countries experience these divine manifestations more often than the western church is because they need it more….. I wonder if it’s simply perhaps that they were never taught that it wasn’t possible to be used for the impossible. Perhaps their faith is that of a child…. pure and trusting.

All I know is that nowhere in the scriptures does it say that these miracles will cease to happen. Jesus tells us in  very clearly in John 14:12-14

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask Me for anything in My Name, and I will do it.”

With this declaration from Christ, it doesn’t seem like there us any question to if we have the ability, through Him…

A few years ago my eyes were opened to divine power of the Spirit. He washed over me, and I spoke in toungues. This is another dividing topic and honestly I thought it was total b.s. You see, when I came to know the Truth I saw Him as a practical God, and don’t get me wrong He is.  But He is also a God of the infinite, the divine, the unexplainable. 

This was thee turning point in my walk with the Lord. He took me, right in all of my skepticism and disbelief and showed me a glipse of the truth. That this is for real and there are things that we will never wrap our minds around this side of heaven, and that has to be okay, because we know He can be trusted.

So the question we have to ask ourselves is do we believe the scripture to be true? Because the truth is, either all scripture is true, or none is. We do not have the luxury of picking and choosing which scripture true, either we believe, or we don’t. And if my Lord and Savior declares this, I am going to believe Him, even if I don’t fully understand. 

The power of God is in us, I don’t fully understand, none of us do. But know that our God is capable of anything, and He can be trusted. 

Written by: Justin Ludwig

When Footholds Dominate 

Despair so malignant

          doomed by those I love

        Responsibility
Selfishness infiltrating

           BLITZKRIEG!!!!!!

Inwardly overrunning an already exhausted defense

Breath labored
.. yet collected

Alternative means
merely seeking
..cryptic solace
Slower demise……
I don’t fucking know
I can’t take much…….more

I close my eyes
……waiting for the tide to come in

Wash me away……


Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14


Changed by the Spirit 

​Now a days when I write something,  I always try to ask myself “Why am I writing this? ” 

Back in the dark times, I never really gave it much thought. I was up at all hours of the night, and the words simply kept coming to me. Pain and anguish was my muse and the pen would just keep moving.

Horrible things flowing, like a raging river. Page after page of heartbreak, hopelessness and a story saturated with self loathing and joyful self destruction……I kept writing. 

I thank God that my desire to write was strong back in the darkness. When I open those pages today ….I remember.  I remember the gut wrenching terror that was my life before Christ saved me. 

I am taken back to the places I had forgotten about. I read the rantings of a mad man that was once me, and all I can do is shout praise to Jesus for blessing me with freedom from that hell!

Pain was my only muse. Drama, chaos,  abuse and horror stirred the passion…. until God

The love of Jesus has ignited a passion in a man that was far beyond hopeless.  And I will shout it to anyone that will listen. Read my writings, before and after Christ. His power is real and He will work for you, of this I am sure.

He is alive and active, and I love it!!
Written by: Justin Ludwig

Weight of Regret

175 pulling 1000

      Why
  Regret     Self-loathing
  All bets called in
    It can’t be covered
    ……what to do
    Start now
Hurt
      Pain
           Misery
                My juice
       my price
      For giving up heaven
           Not yours
    Mine
        Unique    Special
  One of those miracles
  So bright…..
       ….So bright
At least
     I punish myself
 It’s gone before you see what you had.    
           Burned in your retina
   then you see
         …….what you lost

Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

Drowning in Sin’s Cycle

​Gasping for life

    silent battle

    the dead of the end

         the beginning again

the past screams

    again and again

muted shouts fill life

     self incarceration

        Trapped

Stifling freedom constricts me

    guilt

        Shame

Labels too shallow

    too much to indulge

    simmering it seems

             it seems

    …waiting

        for a cataclysmic event

    but it passed

long long ago … even if yesterday

    tomorrow

        another yesterday


Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

Lost Love

Where’d she go?

Choking on my heart

           would cut it out

Hand me the knife…..

              ….Wait

I believe it’s still in my back

 guilt trips

Woes me

                 Fuck you

I only blame me

    same as you

Rest easy

         Don’t trip

     Still punishing myself

Don’t need your help

Seriously…..

Why do you hate me so?

did all the love dissolve away ?

Producing a spiteful residue

   If you recall

Though it seems you forgot

      Loyalty

          Love

         pain

           …….ME

If change was with ease

…..I  wouldn’t have lost my one

I can’t help who I am

    I tried for you

I failed.

……   you gotta set me free

 

Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

Glance back, Gaze Forward 

Gazing, the wreckage

        its entirety       

awestricking   Sickening

  amazing

how much I lost on my journey

    …..to right here

bedrock is nowhere left to hide

      the destruction

      easily avoided

looking back

  helpless

  I’ve…

          ……stopped?

       folding the fight

          all remaining

reality checks

                 never ending

          stifling

humbling

my journey

saved from myself

is just beginning

       if……

  

Written by: Justin Ludwig December 9, 2011.

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

Only the Spirit can Turn a Heart

Before I knew God, I thought I knew…

Looking back over my life, I was presented with the gospel time and time again. No matter who was sharing, or how they would share it, I would recoil at the name of Christ, become angry at the mention of God’s love, or want to cry at the possibility of hope… because I was hopeless. I never really gave it much thought….because I thought I knew, and nobody could tell me otherwise.

When I see my friends and family denying God, my heart breaks, because I remember that place. I know there is no explanation I could give that would open their eyes… I so desperately want them to see what I now see…but I can’t.   A non believer can hear the truth a million times from the best of preachers and never be reached. And then one day, a random statement or conversation, having nothing to do with God, will all of a sudden illuminate God’s truth to them.

It can be so discouraging, not being able to reach people. I know some who genuinely beat themselves up or blame themselves because a loved one did not respond to the Truth.  “Oh, only if I would have said this, or did that,  then they would have seen the truth and they would be saved.”

It is our responsibility to open our mouths and speak of what we know, not to change a person’s heart.The Holy Spirit will use you, but only He can actually achieve the sinner’s repentance.

I don’t know why the Spirit wanted me to share this, be He did, so I did.

Speak truth, live love and watch the Spirit work.

“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?” 2 Cor 2:15-16

“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:16

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” Eph. 1:17

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Trusting in the Valley

IMG_9380.jpgYou know what I love, those mountaintop experiences with Christ. When you are feeling on top of the world, the Son is shining down on you and everything is just as it should be, just like He promised. His presence is so thick in your life that you can almost touch Him. When we are swaddled in the comfort of His embrace, we simply cannot contain our jubilation for the Lord. And we scream from that mountaintop of the goodness of God, and we boast in how good and trustworthy He is.

But what happens when we come crashing down from that peak, and we suddenly find ourselves in that silent valley? What happens when the tangible comfort of the Lord seems to evaporate and is replaced with trial upon trial, burden upon burden… what then?

Has God ceased to be good when everything we hold dear is slipping through our fingers, and there is nothing we can do about it?

A passage came to mind as I was writing this that answers these questions perfectly.

Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray Him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless the Father has enabled them.” From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” –John 6:64-68

I can picture Peter’s reaction, the look on his face after hearing what Jesus had just said to him. I would even dare to say that in that moment,  Peter heard Jesus’ words as foolishness. And with his arms spread wide as if to say, “What!!? Are You kidding me!?

It never occurred to Peter to turn his back on Jesus, because where the hell was he gonna go? He, just like us, found eternal life, and he, just like us, found the Answer to everything. How could he turn his back, just because God didn’t give him the answer he wanted?

God’s answer will not always be the answer we are hoping for…. and that has to be okay. Because where the hell else are we going to go?

Things may not go the way we hoped, and that’s ok. When we stick with God we always know we are on the right track.

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Prayer is Power, I am Ready!

**Please Read ** Prayer Is Power!!

https://rawdiscipleblog.wordpress.com/prayer-requests/

You don’t know me and I don’t know you. If you are a Christian brother or sister then we are one.  If you are not a Christian no worries, I just want you to know that you are loved.  By myself, my fellow christians and most importantly by Jesus Christ. With that said,

I feel that prayer is the most important thing we can do in our lives as a Christian. To support each other, to be able to lift each other up in love to the Father is such an awesome thing. I truly believe in the power of prayer and experience it’s effectiveness time and time again. As we grow deeper in our prayer lives we come to know our God on a much closer and deeper level. I would love to pray for you and I always love to hear how God is coming through for you. If you include your email I will email you my prayer for you. I don’t put you on
emailing lists and don’t care about marketing. The sole purpose of this is for me to lift up your prayers and support you any way I can.

This link simply navigates within my own blog to the prayer requests. I encourage you to put your email so I can email you back a prayer so you can read what I prayed for. Either way, prayer is power y’all!! God bless and take advantage,  you have a man ready to pray for you, with no motivate other than I want God to work in your life.

https://rawdiscipleblog.wordpress.com/prayer-requests/

“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance”- 2 Thess 3:5

Justin Ludwig

Choose Grace

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The pressure had been building, my patience strained. So much has happened in the last two years….. Watching my father slowly be destroyed by the cancer that was taking everything from him little by little, until there was nothing left. My children moving 2000 miles away and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t changed me. I find it harder to breath these days. I feel like at any moment everything is going to fall apart and go away…. I find myself frantic, frustrated and trapped. Trapped in a cage of grudges and bad blood. Bound and gagged in the dark corners, festering…. feeding the destruction.

“Don’t let it go, you’re no punk”,  “You see, the betrayal has already begun, get ready”.

Constant whispers, encouraging me to hang on to the anger.

So subtle, so persuasive that I didn’t even realize that I was playing right into the enemy’s hands. Divide and conquer, so he can kill and destroy.

Then one day, BOOM, I recognize what is happening….. but it didn’t change.

I had secured such a grip on my anger, my fear, that recognizing what was happening wasn’t enough for me to just let go. I couldn’t, I wouldn’t…..I didn’t know how.

For months the pressure built, affecting my peace, my marriage, my joy. I’d be praying daily, “Father, take it away, I don’t want to be angry, I want peace! Help me Lord”

No answer,  no relief.

Then a week or so ago I was riding my bike to work and the Spirit spoke to me, “What are you waiting for?”

“For help Father. I can’t do it, I can’t be okay with this, I am not ok with being treated like that, I don’t know how to let it all go, Help me!”

He responded, “No”

Suddenly He brings to mind Exodus 14:13-16

“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.”

Then the Spirit asked me again, “Now what are you waiting for!?”

This time the question pierced me to my very core. It was like God punctured a pin hole in the darkness that had blanketed me, and the light began to shine through, and I saw…

I muttered to myself, “It’s my decision….and I choose grace.”

I kid you not, In that moment it was like a weight slid off of my shoulders and I smiled…. I let go, because I chose to.

Grace is so hard, because nobody deserves it, but we so desperately need it. Yes to receive it, but more importantly we need to choose to live it…decide to give it.

Only then will we be free. Only then will we be able to experience all of what God desires for us, and from us.

Unity, peace, and love can only be obtained by demonstrating the amazing grace that each of us has been shown.

He will help you, but you must choose.

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Photo from: https://sojo.net/sites/default/files/blog/Grace_Dove-change.png

When in Doubt, love

Christians sometimes get lost within their walk. It happens to every single one of us.

On those days when you cannot hear God’s voice…. When you don’t know what to do or where to go. When your “reality” is crumbling and you begin to doubt everything.

On these days, remember one thing above all else. “When in doubt, love.”

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Speak through Love, and the Spirit will Do the Rest

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I recently went down to Ensenada with some members of my church to build homes for the working poor and share the love of Jesus. There are so many things that I want to write about after this amazing week, but the Spirit is guiding me to one thing.

When I was down there, communication was a big hurdle for me since I can’t even pronounce “gracias”correctly. I had no idea what they were saying to me and it was very clear that they had no clue what I was talking about either.

On day two I was standing there, just soaking it all in. As I am doing this I notice a boy standing off to the side, if I had to guess I’d say he was 11 or 12 years old. This boy was looking at me very skeptically, or atleast it appeared to be skepticism. I don’t know if it was my tattoos that caught his eye or what, but it was a look beyond the normal looks I am used to receiving from a child.

I looked at him and smiled, knowing that we had no way of understanding one another, so we both just stood there. We, or atleast I had no idea how to proceed, so we just continued to look at each other.

There was so much that I wanted to say to him, but I couldn’t, because I didn’t know the right words… So I said a breath prayer, “Father, please use me”.

Then I smiled at him again, and this time his face lit up. Like he knew exactly what was in my heart. He ran over to me and we began to play, all day long. And the following day when we pulled up to the neighborhood I say Jorge looking around….. he was looking for me….  Of all of the people there; fluent spanish speakers, people with candy, and so many children his own age….he sought me out. It touched me in a way that brings tears to my eyes even now as I write this.

This week was a very real confirmation for me that it really doesn’t matter what we say in our ministry to the world. All we need is love, His leading and the Holy Spirit really does do the rest.

I share this with you to embolden you with the knowledge that you truly have a divine spark. To remind you that with a single smile you can give hope…. With a single smile, you can express the love and grace that otherwise cannot be put into words. And with a sincere gesture or act of love, the Holy Spirit will shout into the hearts of the broken,the hurt and the lost.

I feel that the biggest roadblock for many Christians not being willing to share the gospel and witness to people about Christ is fear. Fear of not having all the answers. Fear that they don’t know enough scripture to effectively witness. A fear that they may say the wrong thing and appear foolish. People that feel they are not qualified to witness because they are “such a mess” and someone more “together” would be more affective witness….

People, I am gonna drop some truth on you. You do not have the ability to bring someone to Christ. Only the Holy Spirit has the power to reveal the Truth and save that soul. You could have every answer and know every scripture,  but if the Spirit does not reveal the Truth, there is nothing we can do. It simply wasn’t His time. Our job as followers of Christ is to be raw, real, broken and motivated by love.

Then simply open your mouth and speak.

I have experienced this amazing reality countless times. A single random word with no apparent importance or a sneeze that triggered a memory to someone who was being witnessed to. I have seen and experienced amazing things. Watching the Spirit change someone’s heart right before my eyes… things that have strengthened my faith in incredible ways that can never fully be captured by mere words.

I share my experience with you in the hopes that you will read my words and believe. Believe that God will come through for You when you cannot possibly see how. That God Almighty wants to use you, and He will be with you every step of the way.

To the people who are afraid of what to say, Give yourself a break! All you need to do is love and follow the Spirit’s lead.

Don’t worry about saying the right thing. Just love, and watch Him do the rest.

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Photo from :ridgefellowship.files.wordpress.com

Conviction is Love

Romans 7:14-20 says
“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does.”

This verse was the very first verse that I felt was speaking directly to me. The way Paul describes the sin issue in his life was exactly how I felt. I simply couldn’t do it, I couldn’t live up to all that God wanted from me.

I felt like such a failure because no matter how hard I tried, I simply couldn’t do it. I couldn’t stop sinning and I felt guilty, like I was spitting in God’s face every time I did. Then I was introduced to the concept of grace. At first I viewed it as a get out of jail free card. I remember thinking, “This is awesome, your telling me no matter what sin I commit, I am still guaranteed to go to heaven!? Sign me up!!!” 

Then as the days rolled by the sense of complete freedom began to dim and was replaced by a nagging sense of guilt, and I just couldn’t understand why. I believed that God had forgiven me for my mistakes, I knew I was off the hook. But no matter how many times I reminded myself of that truth,the guilt and frustration continued to build.

Then one day one of my brothers in Christ sat me down and pulled out his bible. He flipped to Romans 6 and began reading in a tone like he was just talking to me.

“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with Him through
baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father,
we too may live a new life.” -Rm 6:1-4

It was like my eyes were opened. I kid you not I’m getting goose bumps as I write this because I remember it so vividly. That was the moment I got it. I don’t feel bad because I am letting God down. I simply don’t have the ability anymore to be Ok with my sin.

Before I knew Christ I was 100 percent in the flesh. I didn’t know any other way than the way of the world. But once I received the Holy Spirit, all of a sudden I’m feeling bad for behaviors and thoughts that never used to phase me.

Since the Spirit revealed that truth to me, when I sin, I don’t feel bad because I failed God again, I thank Him that I am actually able to see what I am doing is not what He wants for me. I rejoice in the fact that He is not mad. That He already knew I was going to do it, and then I thank Him for loving me so much that I have no doubt I am 100 percent forgiven and redemmed.
The conviction is meant to draw us closer to Him by making us hate when we sin. It is not meant to beat us down and make us feel like crap.

We must recognize the purpose of God’s conviction. It is not meant to punish us or make us hurt. He convicts us because He loves us so much He wants to protect us from harm, from sin. And if we are feeling the weight of our mistake pushing us down, pushing us away from God in shame then the devil is twisting God’s purpose for his own agenda; to kill, steal and destroy.

This is the freedom that we are blessed with by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the amazing love of God, enjoy it and be free.

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Vigilance is Key

I’ve always been a fan of punk music. I share alot of their views on society, the government, not being afraid to
be yourself and obviously I love the way it sounds. I mention this because today on the way to work, I was listening to my music and singing along just like any other day. All of a sudden I was very aware of what I was singing along to. The lyric that got my attention was a single line in an otherwise awesome song. It simply said “God is not in us”.

Right after I sang those lyrics I stopped dead in my tracks, like someone just slapped me in the face. All of a sudden another set of lyrics from a different band came to mind that goes something like, “Heaven and hell are just a myth, so wake up you asshole and live in the moment.”

Why do I mention this?

There is a term called imaging, which refers to how anything that you expose yourself to affects you. It may not be notice it right away, and if it is, it can be easily dismissed.

Things in this world are either bringing us closer to God or pulling us away….there is no third direction, no standing still.

Then I couldn’t help but come to the realization that I was overlooking this anti-God sentiment that seems to be plaguing our country, because I love everything else that they talk about in their songs.

Suddenly the overwhelming sense of conviction washed over me. I had chosen the world over God.

I bring up this revelation about myself  to you guys for no other reason than the hopes that you will all remain aware that we do this everyday without even realizing it.

I had to make a decision to delete this music that I have loved since I was a kid off of my phone simply because they had dissed my Lord.

It may sound silly, but this walk we are all on is treacherous and we cannot make compromises on these types of things.

Now I cannot stress this fact enough that I do not tell you this story in the
hopes that you will think, “Oh look at him, look how good he’s doing obeying God.”By no means, I just want to share my shortcomings with all of you in the hopes that you will take this truth and delve into your own walk.

Psalms 139:23 says, “Search me O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my thoughts”.

David begs God to show him the areas in his life where he is falling short. The areas where he compromises his love for God with the love of himself and of the world. Ways he was not even aware of.

The battle is real, the repercussions of choosing anything but God are extremely real. So I urge all of you,
“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12

We must remain vigilant, because none of us are immune.

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Entwined Beauty

A beauty entwined
   So tightly there is no end or start
        I’m drawn to the flame
So bright I lose direction
        blinded most would stop
        I fly faster
         tumbling on all axises
      Faster
  searing pain
        I  do not falter
             faster faster
the heat deteriorating me
      I do not falter
     Within my grasp
             on empty
  Burned, blind and agony
    ….silence
   Darkness
      I wake alone
Pain my certainty
    Pride my solitary emotion
  for my heart I followed
I can’t regret what I’ve done
  because it can’t be undone

Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

What Happened

Last call
     Heard from the virgin ears of a lush.    
           Tomorrow
   Somehow became today
            what happened?
         Defecation
    on your dreams
       your life
         your goddamn soul
   what happened?
      fuck poetic phrases
          I blew it
   …..now I wallow
        Not in pity
          In hate
            Self despair
        it’s tough, no fronting
    pointing the finger
… it’s always a suicidal finger
     at least…..
           at least
   I punish myself
I blew it
     …all of it

Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

How You Feel Doesn’t Change the Truth

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There is an expression that I have thought and even said on more than one occasion and that is “I don’t want to be an adult today”.

It is a feeling that I think everyone could identify with at least at one point in their life. “I don’t want to be an adult today, because just want to go have some fun.”, “I don’t want to be an adult today, I want to just stay in bed and watch Netflix.”

But the reality of the situation is, when I feel like this, even though I don’t want to be an adult today, it does not change the fact that I am an adult, and that is just the way it is.

There is another expression that comes to mind that I feel is just as common, but rarely said out loud, and that is “I don’t want to be a Christian today.”

I will be the first to admit that I have thought and felt this on more than one occasion  “I don’t want to be a Christian today because I wanted to call this person up and tell them exactly why I am pissed”, “I don’t want to be a Christian today so I can do “xyz””, “I don’t want to be a Christian today because I wanted to do what I wanted to do, and it just wasn’t fair!!!”

These feelings are not only understandable but they are a very real sign that we are on the right track. We need to recognize that these desires are not showing how weak our faith is, but they are reminding us that the Holy Spirit is right there with us. Otherwise the thought “I wish I wasn’t a Christian” wouldn’t even occur to us until after we satisfied our want.

People, just like being an adult, being a Christian is simply the fact that we recognize the truth…. and just because we feel a certain way does not change that truth.

I share this with you because our walk with God is not an easy one. In fact, it is damn hard. But you are not alone. Everyone of us has these feelings, and the devil gets off on telling us to keep it to ourselves, isolating us in our struggle, making us weaker.

This topic came to mind because of something I said to my wife the other day. To say we were on overload would be an understatement. It was one of those all too familiar days when I don’t feel God. I just feel the hurt, pain and stress. So many different things all happening at once, I just wanted to collapse. I walked over to her, put my arms around her and closed my eyes, just to catch my breath.

Then without thinking something came out of my mouth, “Being a Christian is so hard, when I don’t wanna be one”….

Those days, when we don’t want to be a Christian, are the moments when we need to cling to God with everything that we’ve got. Some days, all it feels like we are doing is barely hanging on…. and that is a beautiful thing.

Anybody can live for God when the blessings and comfort are just pouring down on them. But when we are under attack, and doubt everything that we have come to believe, we need grab onto God like a child who clutches onto his mother’s leg because he doesn’t want her to leave.

These are the moments we need to recognize as opportunities to strengthen our faith. These are the opportunities to let God show us that He can be trusted. When everything inside of us is telling us that we are justified to act a certain way, when we convince ourselves that God won’t come through for us… that God doesn’t really love us, that I might as well give up…

These feelings and thoughts simply do not change the facts.

Our head will lie to us, our feelings will shift with each passing struggle or blessing….
Sometimes when my head, my pain or my demons are screaming so loud, it is all I can hear, I have to force myself to focus on the truth that everything in me wants to disregard. That God is working, that He is not capable of failing me, and that I truly am loved by Him in such a way that cannot be explained by mere words.

I wanted to share this with you for the simple fact that I don’t want anybody to think that they are the only one. I don’t want anyone to think that when they have to force their faith on those days when we don’t want to be a Christian that they are a fake. Quite the contrary, in those dark times, when life is just too hard, I always remind myself, It is time to put my money where my mouth is, and let God come through for me.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” -Hebrews 11:1

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” -Isaiah 43:2

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” -1 John 4:16

“My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge.” -Ps 62:7

Writteb by: Justin Ludwig

Photo from: http://www.agirlonthedoorstep.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/cross-and-kneeling.jpg

Love Always Supercedes

Our faith is established and strengthened by the truth God has revealed in His word. The more we study and pray the more we begin to understand the very character of God. I have always stood fast by the truth of the scriptures. Knowing that when I speak of God, I am very careful that my words are in line with the very word of God. I knew I was correct, because my knowledge came directly from the scriptures.
But what happens when the truth that the word and the Spirit reveals to me confuses, discourages, or even pushes people away from fellowship with Him?

For example, I love tattoos. I have quite a few and have plans to get more, and I am able to do this without conviction because of what He has revealed to me within the scriptures and the fact that the Spirit is not telling me otherwise.

This confuses some people because they understand that to mark (tattoo) your skin is a direct violation of God’s word and refuse to do so because of what they know about God. If I was to encourage one of these people to get a tattoo based on what I know, then they would be putting their faith in my word, instead of God’s word. And if they disregard the Spirit’s conviction and get a tat anyways, I have now convinced this person to defy God as he understands Him, which is a sin.

The Spirit has been nudging me in regards to another example which I have had no choice but to take to heart, and that is the term “baby christian”.

Now this term spoken or thought with a humble heart and pure motives is in fact scripturally sound. (1 Peter 2:2) (1 Cor 3: 1-3).  But does that make it ok to use as we see fit?

I have stood my ground with the scripture as my foundation on this topic, but recently the Spirit has convicted me about this due to the greatest commandment, which is love.

By using a term that I am completely comfortable with, I have been inadvertently casting doubt into the minds of new believers, to some appearing to be elevating myself above others, or even worse, confusing new believers that in order to become mature in Christ that they need to “do more” before they are an actual “christian”.

So then the question becomes, what is more important to God?…. What is the only requirement that He desires from us?…. to love.

All of a sudden by the conviction of the Spirit I am no longer able to use this term with a clear conscience. Not because I don’t still believe that there is nothing wrong with it, but because by doing so, even though my heart is from a humble place, it is a stumbling block to others because the words are speaking something else to them. To them the words speak judgment.

Then I ask myself, if I choose to not say this term, am I taking away from the scriptures to please others? So I have a choice, do I be right…. or do I edify and love?

Our faith is one uncompromising truth, but it’s not always black and white.

 

“Take heed to the guidance and conviction of the Spirit, for He will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13)

“Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.  Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” -1 Cor 8:9 -13

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 1 Cor 13: 1-3

“Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?” -1 Cor 3: 1-3

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” – 1 Peter 2:2

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” -John 16:13

Written by: Justin Ludwig

God is Beyond our Rational

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As God as my witness, the experience I am about to share is 100 percent true with absolutely no embellishment. Your mind may question my testimony but I cannot emphasis enough that what I speak is true, is real, and it changed how I viewed God, the Spirit and life, forever.

I suddenly had the desire to share an experience that changed me on a profound level. There are many things spoken of in the scriptures that can be hard to wrap our minds around. I feel one of these would be the topic of speaking in tongues.

I will be the first to admit, I did not believe in this act of a divine display of worship.  I am skeptical by nature and though I have faith in what the word tells me, I just couldn’t accept that this was lagit. My skepticism was to the point that I would actually mock my friends who had told me that they had or do speak in the divine language.

Nothing on this earth would change my mind, I did not believe……

Then one day, It was February of 2012, I attended a bi annual revival put on by Teen Challenge called Spiritual Emphasis. An entire weekend filled with worship, the word, fellowship, love and most importantly the Spirit.

It was the second day of the festival and I was enjoying the crap out of myself. God’s presence was so thick you could almost reach out and touch Him. The Spirit was flowing and I found myself underwater in worship, praising Him…… then something began to happen.

It began in my feet, a cold tingling sensation that I noticed but disregarded, assuming my feet were just falling asleep. As I fell deeper into worship I realized that the feeling in my feet began to rise. It was almost like their was a hole in the top of my head and someone was pouring water into me, filling me from the bottom up. It was so cold, yet so exhilarating.

I fell deeper and deeper into the Father’s presence, all the while this cold, shaky sensation continued to rise up from my toes, up through my calves and continued to rise. I had absolutely no idea what I was feeling or what was happening. All I knew is that whatever  it was, had such power, and I had no ability to stop it.

This sensation continued to rise within me, not in the sense of strengthening me, but literally, I felt like a glass of water being filled.

By the time this coldness reached my knees I began to shake. I was having a hard time keeping my balance, yet this filling of my body continued to rise.  Two of my friends noticed that I was starting to wobble, so each one put his arm around me for support, so I wouldn’t collapse.

I continued to worship, and the filling continued.

It rose all the way to the top of my throat and then stopped. It was like the “liquid” hit a barrier and could go no further. No matter how hard I tried, the feeling was trapped right in my throat.  I could barely breath, but I was not afraid.

I was so confused yet filled with a feeling…. Such a feeling that I cannot put into words.

Then I heard it, “Now Speak!”

I didn’t think, I opened my mouth and my throat suddenly released and I began so speak in a language that I did not know….. I couldn’t squelch the words that where pouring out of me.

Like an avalanche of syllables, they began to flow. With tears streaming down my face and my friends supporting my entire body weight, I was in a haze of divine ecstasy that I can only describe as a non sexual orgasm.

Then I collapsed.

Face down, overcome by the Spirit’s power. I felt someone lightly touch my shoulder. He said to me so softly, in a tone that gave me a sense of comfort I have never known.

He said “Thank You Father for filling this man with Your living water. I ask that You never allow him to forget. Never stop the flowing of Your precious water, Your power and Your presence.”

I arose seconds after hearing the voice, tears streaming down my face, and I  see my friend sitting there, waiting for me. Everyone else was gone, apparently I was on the ground much longer than I had thought.

My first words to him was an apology for mocking his experience.  All I could mutter after that was “I had no idea….. “I had no idea……”

I asked him, who was praying over me a second ago? He cocked his head in confusion and asked “When?”.

I said, “While I was face down drowning in His presence, who was praying?”

He searched my face, assuming I was making one of my stupid jokes, and then he said with a stone faced serious response,  “Justin, nobody was praying over you. When you collapsed you were alone up there.”

I experienced something that changed my life. God, in His mercy and grace decided to demonstrate His incredible gift to someone who didn’t even believe it possible.

This night was the night I lost all doubt about our faith, about our God and about His power.

Many are either skeptical of my testimony or think I am lying. To those people I am forced to ask, “What do I have to gain by lying?”

The Spirit is at work today as much as it was back in the days of the Apostles. I share this with you in the hopes that you will recognize that just because you don’t know, don’t believe, or dont understand does not make it any less true.

My story is for real, and my prayer is that you will open your heart fully to the power of God, and watch Him work in ways you never thought possible.

There is a power far beyond our understanding, and I welcome you, to stop trying to understand God by our finite perspective and simply experience Him.

My experience does not make me special,  because I didn’t do anything….. I simply let go and let myself drown in His presence.

Whether you doubt me or not doesn’t matter. It is true, and my prayer is that each and everyone of us, if even only for a second could experience the unexplainable ways of God like I was so blessed to experience. You will be changed, forever.

“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,  so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Cor 2:4-5

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Photo from: Google Images

Rejoicing in my Suffering

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It has been no secret that my kids moving away has been really hard for me. The thought of not getting to see them very often upsets me ways I can’t even begin to put into words. Coupled with the death of my dad a couple months ago I have been feeling like I am suffocating, sinking beneath the surface back down into the darkness.

Today I was pleading with God for strength, wisdom and encouragement. I have been praying this for awhile with no real relief. But this time, the Spirit chose to answer me, with another question.

It was the weirdest thing, I’m in the back smoking and I hear Him, “Why aren’t you grateful?”

I say, “I am Father, You saved me from so much”, and as I begin to continue He stops me….. “I am talking about your dad…. your kids.”

All of a sudden it hit me, this is His mercy… this is His grace. It was inevitable that my father would die, but the Lord kept him around long enough to mend our broken relationship….

With my x wife being in the Navy, I knew it was inevitable that it would take my kids far away, but the Lord kept them here and helped me establish a loving and amazing relationship with my children. A solid foundation that we never had before….

What if these things happened 4 years ago? My pops and I so hateful to each other, my kids remembering a dad that loved them but was so broken he had to go away.

Suddenly the Spirit washes over me and I start to cry and I thank Him for giving me the chance, the time, and the ability to make things right, His way. 

Suddenly the Spirit says, “Now this is rejoicing in your suffering”

I kid you not guys, it was almost audible and it made me laugh as I sniff and took a breath.

It doesn’t make the hurt go away, because it hurts. But the truth the Spirit showed me was how lucky… how blessed I truly am to get the time I had.

Phil 4:8
“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

Romans 5:3-5
“Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Psalm 27:14
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

Ecclesiastes 8:6
“For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him.”

Justin Ludwig

Writing by: Justin Ludwig

Photo from: http://www.bible-reflections.net/image/original/1856/on-the-road-marked-with-suffering.jpg

Mindblowing Prophecy Within the Names of the First Men in Genesis

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You may or may not know this, but names in the bible hold a lot of significance. It could be a character trait of this person, a plan God may have for them, etc. With that said, I wanted to share something incredible with you. Something so comforting and beyond human reason that the only response I can come up with is “Wow”.

In Genesis 5:3-32 it gives a brief genealogy of the first 10 men on this earth.  There was Adam who gave birth to Seth, to Enosh, to Kenan, to Majalalel, to Jared, to Enoch, to Methuselah, Lamech and then Noah. At first glance this appears to be another boring tedious list of names. But upon further study something absolutely amazing is revealed to us. The meaning of each of these men’s name are as follows…

Adam: man
Seth: appointed
Enosh: Mortal
KENAN :Sorrow
Mahalalel: the blessed God
Jared: Shall come down
Encoch: teaching
Methuselah: his death shall bring
Lamech: the despairing
Noah: Rest or comfort

So the genealogy of the first men on this earth by what their names mean is as follows.

“Man (has) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down Teaching (and ) His death shall bring the despairing comfort”……

I don’t know about you, but this absolutely blows my mind.  Nobody had any idea how Jesus “the Messiah’s” salvation plan would play out. That is what must have been so devastating for the disciples when they saw their conquering Savior bloody beaten and dead…. apparently defeated.

How could they have known that His death was exactly the saving grace that God had planned for us from the beginning. It wasn’t until Jesus rose from the dead and the Holy Spirit was sent to us that it became clear.
And here it is, right from the very beginning, in a book written approximately 1440 B.C. which tells us exactly what God had planned for us from the very beginning.

This awesome truth brings to mind something that one of my professors told me once that really stuck with me. He told me “Justin, be sure you don’t miss it, God is in the measurements”.

Meaning, from something as tedious as the measurements of Noah’s arc to the seemingly endless genealogies, not to mention the mundane day to day routine of our daily lives. God is always speaking to us. If we wait and wait for the miraculous signs or a burning bush, we very well could miss something life changing… something life inspiring that is being whispered right into our ear.
There is no way this is a coincidence or a “setup” as some skeptics could argue, because there is no way Moses had a clue when he wrote this what God’s plan was, nobody did…..

Like I said folks, our faith is no fairy tale, it’s as real and true as it gets…. let’s be sure to live, love and act accordingly

Justin Ludwig

Photo from:http://myfaithnutrition.com/it-is-finished/

Always Respond in Love

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To all of my brothers and sisters in Christ who are offended or bothered by all of the changes in our country. I urge you to pray on this verse,

“Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?” -James 4:11-12

We are called to love and serve, not judge and condemn. 

Unfortunately to the world, Christians are known for being judgemental, condescending and hateful.

You, I, we have a responsibility to stand up and show the world who we truly are, with love.

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Photo from: https://jeremyaffeldt.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/lovelikejesus.jpg

Be Careful What You Wish For

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All I seem to see are kids…..

Parents complaining about never having free time. Parents yelling at their kids cause they are frustrated from the day to day stresses of raising kids. I watch all of this going on around me and my stomach gets tight…..

How long I wished for a break…. So many times I would fantasize,  if I didn’t  have the kids and could have all of my time for me, for a change…

I wake up today knowing I won’t see my kids faces, other than in pictures that just seem to make me feel worse.

I sit here in the silence thinking to myself,  “I am missing it all” ….. it seems like so long ago since I have gotten to live with my kids….6 years!? Is that right?…..

They come, they go….every goodbye harder than the last.

I get to sit and focus on the fact that someone else is raising my kids. Someone else will be instilling something else in my kids, setting them on a path for the rest of their lives….. and here I sit.  Far far away, knowing that just like every other time in my life, I came to my senses after it was too late.

Here I sit, thinking about the selfishness that drove them away in the first place… I never wanted them to leave…… I just wanted me time.

Now I have all the time in the world……to sit in silence and repeat, “Be careful what you wish for, you may just get more than you hoped for.”

Come hell or high water I will always be there for my kids….I just don’t get to be with them….be careful what you wish for.

The silence,  the “peace” is deafening.

Cherish the insanity of parenthood, because whether it be divorce or simply by the course of time they will be gone. And you will sit and think…man I miss the chaos that drove me so nuts.

Learn from me, the peace,and quite sounds like a dream come true….but it’s a trap….. horrible, devastating, and silent.  

Grab your child right now, hold them close and love them with everything you’ve got, before it’s too late.

Written by: Justin Ludwig 05-13-16

Photo from: http://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/photo.goodreads.com/hostedimages/1380393154i/756862._SY540_.jpg

Integrity

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It’s so easy now a days to get caught up in the material world. It’s only natural, I mean who doesn’t want to be successful,  provide for their family, to have some security.  But too many times that desire drives us to compromise .

A white lie here, a seemingly harmless corner cut there. At the time the ends seem to justify the means. But the reality of the situation is that those people are corrupting their own hearts and are slowly but surely cheapening who they are, and what they supposedly stand for. It’s so easy to let your guard down and to get your priorities twisted without even realizing it.

There is a verse that says “What good is it for a man who gains the entire world but in the end loses his very soul.” ( Matt 16:26)

In the end it doesn’t really matter how far you made it. Nobody really talks about that or remembers those things. It’s what kind of person you were, and what you stood for that will live on. That’s why it’s so important to do the right thing in all situations. Not because you want people to see or for what you can gain. Simply being a good person and doing right because you know it’s the right thing to do. If everyone was able to apply this way of thinking into their everyday lives, how different and amazing would this world become?  Some cynics might even say that that idea is just a fantasy or a pipe dream. But to those people I would simply say, that a world of change begins with one person, being good for the sake of being good. And for myself I chose to be a part of the solution instead of being part of the problem, one compromise at a time.

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Photo from: http://65.media.tumblr.com/11db450f3178968053dd0fb767ddb80ctumblr_mu9e0uB2ZH1rgln54o1_500.jg

Running Out of Chances

Running Out of Chances

Soulless

       Soulless!!

           breath
I am dying too slow!!
     …my mind’s going faster….
blap blap
that’s  all I think
Always
               ALWAYS!!
tragedy
I think not
     I had all and every chance
I shit on it
oblivious
self deception
             no more
Mary echos
“you won’t come back one of these times”
It’s terrifying
     Real
          Here
Do I quit
Fuck You, Never

Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

He is in the Pain, Shouting He loves Us

I said goodbye to my kids yet again recently. After saying all I could say, after about a million hugs and kisses I closed the car door and watched them drive away. As I was watching them leave, all of their little hands popped up in the rear window, waving goodbye to me.

It’s a scene that is way too familiar to me.  The heartbreak of knowing that my kids are going away…and there is absolutely nothing I could do about it.

Countless what if’s swirling in my head, consuming my thoughts. The pain, the fear and sadness… I simply cannot put it into words.

As soon as they were out of sight I went inside, straight into the bathroom and began to cry. As I am sitting there a lyric started in my head that I still can’t get out, and it goes like this,

“My Master told a parable once, that we should pray and not lose heart. When we face the corruption of life,  He says come boldly, and trust Me.”

I kept repeating it over and over again, “Come boldly, and trust Me.” As I’m  singing this lyric over and over again I suddenly stop… I recognized something within myself. A feeling that had no place in that moment of pain, and sorrow…. a feeling of excitement.

I almost didn’t recognize it because of all of the hurt.  As I focused on this feeling lingering beneath the surface I felt the Spirit’s comfort as I realized…. He is going to do something with this.

It wasn’t a pep talk I was giving myself, reminding me to trust Him. It was more of a proclamation, a definite fact being told to me.

And in that moment I felt honored to be the one going through this. I felt humbled that my pain is going to bring about something amazing. It’s a slippery truth to hold onto because I have no idea what He is working on. It could be a blessing for my kids…. for me, or simply others will gain hope because they will see God coming through for me with all of this going on…. and I get to be a part of it.

..by no means am I saying that I am without fear…. I am not saying that this revealed knowledge squelched my pain and now I am great…. because I am not.
What I am saying is, I asked God to use me…. now He is. The question I have to ask myself is, is He going to drag me kicking and screaming or will I stand up and walk with Him, resting in the truth that He is good, always.

Never lose heart people, He is trustworthy

Justin Ludwig

Constant Review

  Gazing the wreckage
            its entirety      
awestricking      Sickening
   amazing
how much I lost on my journey
        …..to right here
bedrock is nowhere left to hide
          the destruction
          easily avoided
looking back
   helpless
      I’ve…
              ……stopped?
           folding the fight
              all remaining
     reality checks
                     never ending
              stifling
humbling
my journey
saved from myself
is just beginning
if……

  
Written by: Justin Ludwig December 9,2011.

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

Hypocrite!?

I am not saying that I am better than you because I am a Christian. I have lied, cheated, stolen. I was a monster, far worse than anyone I have ever met. I’ve done things that would horrify you and I stand before you saying that I am forgiven and that I am going to heaven. You call me a hypocrite!?….. no no no. I would be a hypocrite if I thought I was better than you… but I don’t.

I am just a man, who admits that I am a sinner. I have done bad things to myself and to others most of my life. So to say that because I believe the only way to be made right is to admit defeat, trust that He loves me enough to know my heart and forgive me.

That doesn’t make me better than you, it just means I recognize the Truth. And the Truth is that I love because God is love, Jesus is love. That’s it, a self sacrificing, everyone above me kind of love is what God desires from me, from us. So don’t get it twisted, just because you had one, two or a thousand bad experiences with christians doesn’t mean you have us figured out.

Love and blindly being okay with everything around us is not the same. Alot of Christians get it twisted, I know. I see it everyday, and they are wrong to hate. You shout tolerance then you judge me because I love?  We may have more in common than you realize.

Written by: Justin Ludwig.

Praying through the Pain

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It’s okay to hurt, it is part of the process… just lean in and let Him work.

Father, I can hear You in the pain. It’s not taking the hurt and sorrow away like I wished it would, but I hear You. “Hang on….it’s not forever…. Please trust Me”.

I have ran from pain my whole life only to run head first into things much worse than I was running from….I am done running Father….. because where the hell else am I gonna go!?… I’ve already found the answer, in You.

Help us recognize Your voice and Your love in the middle of our hurt, our pain….our suffocating sadness.
Help us to see past our present circumstances, trials and burdens and rest in Your character..Your goodness, Your love, Your strength and Your wisdom, amen.

https://rawdisciple.com/prayer-requests/

Written by: Justin Ludwig

 

 

Photo from: michaelwelchertdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/prayer-man-warrior.jpg

My Journey into Madness

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I pushed my mind past the brink, this was the journey I took into madness.

I hadn’t slept. Your mind hits a point when you push it too far. It fractures and reality becomes something else. In all of my years of pushing my mind and my body to this point I always said, “As long as you know you are crazy, you’re fine. Its when you think your fine that you’re in trouble .
Another morning, like the countless ones I have experienced. I hadn’t slept in days. I don’t know the time but it was early, I remember because it was dark, but the birds were beginning to chirp. I despised those birds. I am not really sure why, perhaps because it was the sound of a new day…..another day.
I walked into my kitchen and there he was. A man sitting in the corner. Across the kitchen next to the trash can was a man with his knees tucked under his chin. He was in a drab white jumpsuit of sorts. I didn’t know what to think, “You’re tripping Justin, you haven’t slept.
No stranger to hallucinations. When you push your mind past the brink, only then can you truly understand how delicate and fragile the mind is.
I began to cook an egg. I wasn’t hungry but I wasn’t sure the last time I had eaten and I was feeling quite drained.
He just sat there, he didn’t speak. I ate my egg quickly directly off the pan. It burned my hand but I didn’t register it because something was wrong. There was a man on my floor. I walked past him without looking him in the eye. I stepped past him and walked into my room and closed the door.
Unable to process this peculiar turn of events I suddenly realized that there were two people in my room. Females, both of them. I didn’t want them to know that I saw them. At this moment I realized that I was to the brink. At the threshold of losing complete control. I remember thinking, don’t talk to them. If I acknowledge them then that will make them real.

“Keep it together Justin, you haven’t slept .”

I was sitting there cross legged on the floor, listening to what they were saying. Based on their dialog it seemed as if they were nurses. They were studying my behavior, just like the many mental health professionals I had encountered in my life so many times.
Up until this point my experience had kept me just sane enough to know I’ve was tripping. The two women who continued to talk amongst themselves, and then something happened. Something that took a full on break from reality and made it terrifying….. the nurse told me to do something.

To those that don’t know, if you hear voices you are in trouble. If those voices begin telling you what to do, you are in serious trouble.

(This portion of my journey that should go here is unknown to me. It could have been 5 minutes or 2 days, I just can’t remember)

Journey continues…

Such confusion and awareness at the same time. Only six days and it had begun 2 days prior. I walked to the kitchen, God it used to be my home… no more. But this day was a different familiarity. I glance and she’s there, I don’t know who she is but I’ve seen her kind many times… too many times. I ignore her except for the occasional smirk. it can’t be helped, she’s funny. And I feel her fear,I walked away muttering to myself. Unaware that my journey to hell is just beginning. But to this day, I’m still doubting the outcome. Was my mind collapsing or expanding. Flash back to fast forward. I count six. I laugh and when I do I realized again I am talking to myself. FUCK!!! I scold myself I grab the phone feeling betrayed, confused and desperate. Anyone living the life knows that’s a treacherous combo and yet I am numb to it.
My pops gets back to the house and by this time I realize that my head is dropping fast. Not physically, I mean dropping off the grid. I thing since of my experience I got a fighting chance at…. surviving it. Rookie mistake.

My wife called and I started talking. So much pain, happiness, love I felt when that phone rang. I didn’t question it at the time, trying to ignore all the people, all the movement, all the suspicion. All I remember is me pleading to see my kids and “you keep talking”, and “i’ll think about it” were the only responses given. Most of all throughout the entire experience I remember “Bye” no love… no hope.
I glanced at my St. Jude pulsating to different tints and colors. At this point I’m not expecting of my hallucination or rejecting. I am just mesmerized.
In hindsight, this is when I lost control. Things stopped being funny to myself. Looking back they were never funny to begin with. They were me laughing at the wind and my mind breaking. The severity of my condition was exposed. After being convinced my father had brought the mental hospital to the house and ranting to my mother of this fact. I was out back smoking a cigarette and I saw it. A sign on the neighbor’s house. I couldn’t read it clearly but it was clearly there. My last ounce of experience I call my dad, explain somethings wrong and had him look to see if the sign was in fact there or i’ve lost my mind. I walked up to the wall with him slowly. My dad in front of me and as soon as I approached the wall the signs disappeared right before my eyes. I gasped. I then began to stumble back and as I did a couple feet, the sign became as vivid and tangible as life again.
“HOLY SHIT!!!” I laugh to myself. “Something is wrong pops”. I described my visions, inciting incase I lost consciousness to let the medics or whoever know. He yelled I’m not sure what. I can guess though. He did say trip in the room so I went. See weh I’ve lost my mind these 10 to 15 times this year I’m not confrontational… I’m scared and docile. I closed the door to my room and starting talking…They were there… at the time. i say to myself “ Ride it out man”, “ enjoy the trip” Lying to myself cause I was fucking terrified./ But I had to maintain. It got a little foggy and I was off in my delusion. I remember thinking and analyzing as I drifted further away. Not to sleeping, far from it. I was conversing with strangers, families, myself. I remember green highways, but only looking like freeways like the commercials I have seen for Tron.
But I stopped several times and explored.

It’s hard to place them chronologically or even put into words. But they happened then.
I was in a waiting room but it was a smoke screen. I just know there was no way out. Either a black diamond or a fat guy blocking the exit. The only other door led in. I opened it once and there was so much darkness I felt so humiliated when it opened. I didn’t open it again. I went somewhere else. I let go and I was gone. I just be I’m running out of return trips.

The confusion I recall from the first time is now recognized while it’s happening. But I lost control. I felt like I didn’t know who I was and the time bouncing from patient, to inmate to etc. Anybody either with no control or shut down. Horrible things I heard that made me jump from my seat but not wake me from my psychosis. At one point for a brief second I was a catatonic in Alabama or some southern state and a hateful woman was telling me “ She saw me do it, and that I was going to pay” She said that I touched a child and when I felt the gate it made me scream. You see molesters, rapists, to me, they deserve to die more painfully than any murderer. I thought my soul might be set in a mental petophile. I thanked God when my mind raced away again.

Written by: Justin Ludwig October 2011

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14
Image from: http://static.tumblr.com/5a84fb5d87ad67ad472547869fa57d3f/fhumo5v/COhn91pu0/tumblr_static_93ieedl00w84g48k0kwggwow4.jpg

God’s Timing

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“Acts 16:6-10 “Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”

God’s timing is everything. That is what is so incredible about Him, He has woven this incredibly intricate tapestry that we call everything. This is why it is so important to be sensitive to the Spirit’s voice.

Just because you do not shout the name of Jesus to every single person you meet, or that you are not willing to sell your house to live in a hut does not mean that you are not madly in love with God. When you are supposed to share with someone you will feel the Spirit telling you to. If your boss is asking you to do shady stuff and the Spirit is telling you to quit your job, you’ll know. We cannot beat ourselves up because we are not capable of doing some of the intense things that God may ask of us. But when that time comes and God has a big use for you, the Spirit will come upon you and you will be capable of doing things not possible before.

Be sensitive to His voice, and be courageous enough to follow it.

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:7-8

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Photo from: http://christianmarketingprogram.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Gods_Timing.jpg

The Gospel is Love

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The gospel is……

There are many ways to finish this sentence; it is hope, it is truth, it is life, etc. But what the gospel is….is love.

The hope in our secured eternity because He loves us so much that He set us free from our fate, our shackles, ourselves. The truth is that God is love, His truth is that He loves the active satan worshipper as much as He does you. The truth is, we cannot fathom His love for us, because it is more powerful, deep and scandalous than anything we can imagine. We did everything wrong, we blatantly turn our backs on God to do what we want because we want to do it. And He always responds in love.. always, because God is love.

Why do I share this?

From the child molester, to the devil worshipper, to the person who just doesn’t care, we have but one response that we must do if we truly desire to please God, and that is to love them.

Somehow the church has become somewhat of an ostrich with its head in the sand. So concerned about separating itself from evil, from the world. All the while evil, pain and suffering is raging all around us.

This is NOT what God desires from the church. To avoid evil so we can protect ourselves. That is the opposite of the gospel. We are called to go… to go to the darkest corners of the world and love.  Love without judgment….. love without an agenda …. To love without question.

Matt 28:19-20
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Mark 12:31
“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”

Romans 13:10
“Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Photo from: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/a7/7a/23/a77a239f2a545a88d1e5cf188f4ec4f8.jpg

Consumed

Consumed

Origin of current misery
        Ignorance
Fueled by youth
         curiosity commences
       Enticing  experimentation
Gradual escalation
      Simply dismissed
  Daily procrastination
      Sudden loss of control
             repercussions
               —-
Self isolation and mutilation
  Unimaginable  decimation
       aware yet powerless
       Solution
grasp or release – Dwell or accept
            change or die

Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

07: Living Merely Memories

07: Living Merely Memories

A time
    A time before this
A distant memory
    no longer reasonable
but a faded memory
they turn slowly
just for an instant
    then vanish
only echoes in my head
how could they
    why would they
wish it away
strange feeling
    ashamed… humbled
despair
0f what some ask   
    my life gone wrong
what I call hell
for my kids
    i must prevail

Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14