Jesus Will Light Our Way

The Spirit is always speaking to us, and if we are in tune with Him, the seemingly trivial events of our day to day life have the ability to reveal to us His truth. With that said I wanted to share a quick story with all of you.

Almost every morning when I get to work it is the same thing. I lock up my bike, I walk into my building and head to the bathroom to get myself situated to start my day. I open the door to the bathroom and walk in, expecting the motion sensor to see me as I enter and automatically turn the light on, and every morning I walk in, and that stupid light doesn’t turn on. I make it around 4 steps in complete darkness, waiting for something to happen, but nothing does. I guess I assume if I walk a little further or move enough the light will click on. Every morning it is not until either I simply turn towards the sensor, or reach out and almost touch it that the lights turn on and I am able to see.

I always laugh at myself and think,”Damn Justin, how many times are you going to do this? You know what will turn the light on, So just do that fool!” This is the Spirit’s almost daily reminder for me. Pointing out how ridiculous it is for me to stumble around in the darkness trying to figure things out for myself, instead of doing what I know will work, and that is simply to turn to Him to illuminate the way.

I smile every time I turn around and that light clicks on, because I have been guilty of this in my walk with Christ on way more than one occasion. I’m sure all of you can relate. We know what we are supposed to do, but for some reason, even though we know that God will help us and make things clear for us, we still sometimes insist on fumbling around in the dark, hoping the light will just turn on and show us what to do or where to go.

God is always right there, waiting for us to turn to Him, so He can shine in our lives.

Write this truth on the tablet of your heart. Accept His offer of love and guidance and seek Him in everything you do, especially in the trivial, and He will light your way.

 

“But in their distress they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and they sought Him, and He let them find Him.”-2 Chronicles 15:4

“Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually.” -1 Chronicles 16:11

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord.  With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” -Psalm 16:8

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” -James 1:5

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” -Psalm 119:105

 

Written by : Justin Ludwig

Grace & Warfare 

Grace…. His love for us is so far beyond our finite comprehension….. To fathom the mind of God is truly a humbling experience. An impossible journey into Something so far beyond us that it truly boggles the mind.

When I think about His love and grace I find myself constrained by my very human thinking, how could I not?…. the depths of His grace and love is so far beyond any of our comprehension…. I always pray that this extremely crucial truth in written on each and every saint’s heart and that every single one of us focuses on this truth deeply and often.

I cannot stress enough that this is not me preaching!!! This is me desperately wanting every person to understand how free, and how loved they are, even if they don’t fully comprehend it. There are Christians still shackled in the illusion that they are not forgiven. They carry around such guilt and shame….. they doubt that God loves them or their very salvation. THIS CAN NOT STAND! We all must understand the reality of what we have been given and share this truth so that no one is fooled by this lie from hell!

A quick glimpse into me, I have always been the hardest on myself. I have a feeling quite a few of you can relate to with me on this. Even when people would forgive me, I couldn’t accept it. I would continue to beat myself up over mistakes, both intentional or not. I never felt I was being adequately punished, (whatever that means) so as a result I carried a lot of guilt.

In hindsight, this inability to forgive myself was one of the more effective chains that satan used to successfully bind me for so many years. I was unaware of the grace of Christ at the time but the self condemnation took me into such darkness that I had no hint of light……I was consumed by the darkness of self hated.

This is a tactic used by the enemy continuously in the hearts and minds of believers and non believers alike. He wants us to forget the fact that we already have victory. He wants us to doubt our salvation….. he is constantly whispering, because he wants us to doubt our worth based on our mistakes.

“Am I really saved?”,”I keep messing up, I must not be saved because I keep sinning.” How many of us have said or at least thought this at some point as a believer?

And for the non believer, “How could God forgive me!? I can’t even forgive myself!!! I deserve punishment, pain and every bad thing. You don’t understand what I have done!! My past is unforgivable!”….. this quote right here was the truth of my condition until Holy Spirit changed my heart, praise God!!

I am going to be real with you, my heart still aches over a time a yelled at my son because he wanted me for something but I was too busy… This random moment, like a million others, randomly come to mind…. Sometimes I shrug them off and other times they take root. The enemy’s whispers have the ability to drag me/you down to a place of darkness. I begin to feel the familiar pull of self loathing, guilt and hatred that I had carried all of my life.

I kid you not y’all, spiritual warfare is for real and we are always vulnerable while on this earth. We have protection and power yes. But the reality is there is an enemy and he is specifically after you and me. And if we don’t hold close to Holy Spirit and other believers, we will not make it!

We must know what we believe and we must know how to stand up against the devil’s schemes, lies and tricks!

This place of self condemnation robs us of basking in the scandalous grace that God has already given us. I can only speak my story, because it’s the only one I know. And for me, these self condemning whispers are a reality for me to this day….the enemy is always pulling at me. Trying to use my very human thinking against me…. and he will do the same to you.

Remain vigilant, remember God’s love and grace is beyond our comprehension, and remember that we need each other. You are free my friend, whether you understand it or not! Praise Jesus!!!!

Be blessed and bask in the freedom of grace.


“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

“As far as the east is from the west, so far had He removed our transgressions from us Ps. 103:12

Written by: Justin Ludwig

In our Wandering, He is There

​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 

Trust His Plan

​There 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 

He Has a Purpose for Your Pain

​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 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 

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

Trusting in the Valley

You 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.