Can you hear Him?

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In the midst of the chaos, He is assuring You that He is in control…..in the middle of our very personal, excruciating pain and sadness, He is screaming how much He loves us…. can you hear Him?

I’d like to say that I always feel completely confident in my faith, but that would be a lie. There are times when the pain is so deafening it seems to distract me from hope and His voice is drowned out…. I begin to feel like I am sinking…. then the doubts begin to whisper. “God has left you”…. “you are just fooling yourself, give up”…. “you are alone and hopeless”….

Unfortunately in our journey with Christ we will not always feel His presence or comfort. We won’t hear His voice and we will feel like we are on our own. Speaking just for myself, this place can be terrifying. When my world seems to be crumbling down around me and God seems to be silent….

It is in these times we must choose to trust. These times can be the hardest for a christian. When everything inside of us is screaming doubt, hopelessness or fear. When we must disregard every fiber of our flesh and rationality and choose to trust that God hasn’t gone anywhere….. that He is working on something. It is in these places that we must choose to believe that He does love us and that no matter how hopeless it seems, He will come through.

We won’t always hear His voice, but I am here to tell you without a doubt that God is right there, in the middle of your agony, screaming His love for you.

Choose to believe and you will be blessed.

Written by: Justin Ludwig

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

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

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

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

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I had a problem for several months with my bike tires popping on me. It seemed at least once a week my tire would be flat and I was getting really irritated. I just couldn’t figure out why the damn things kept popping, because  I was so careful.  I never even went over a curb because I don’t want to mess up my only means of transportation, which made it even more frustrating.

Then finally, I realized that it was the path that I was taking to work. On this side of the street apparently there is a certain kind of tree that drops little prickly things that are so sharp. Obviously, now that I figured this out I cross the street and taking the opposite sidewalk, problem solved.

The only problem now is on the way home from work sometimes I am not paying attention and I’ll forget to cross the street, and I’ll continue down the wrong sidewalk. I usually realize 15 feet or so after the intersection, and since the prickly things are further up it is easy enough to turn around and avoid them…..

I kid you not people more times than I care to admit, when I realize that I missed the turn, even though I know what very well could happen, I just keep going straight because I want to get home. So I continue going the wrong way, hoping for the best.

The last time this happened as soon as I realized I missed the turn I remember  thinking “Screw it, I’ve already committed to this way, I’m not turning back now.”

I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I find myself beginning to head down the wrong path in my walk with Christ I have the same initial reaction. I know what I should do, but I find myself rationalizing or worse justifying the path that I am on, knowing damn well it’s not heading where I, and more importantly where He wants me to go.

What if after Peter denied Christ he simply continued on the path he was on? Overcome with shame, hurt, fear and who knows how many other emotions. He easily could have let how he felt or what he thought fuel his choice to continue down the path leading to destruction. It seems so clear, so easy of a solution…but it isn’t always.

Speaking for myself, the shift can be so subtle that it isn’t even recognized right away. And once it becomes clear, I feel something pushing me forward, justifying me, telling me I am fine and to just keep going…

We must recognize these thoughts and feelings holding us back and dragging us down as weapon from the enemy and not as truth.

Divide and conquer is his tactic, and it works. We must not continue on….. We must not justify and hope for the best.

Our own head is inexplicably trying to keep us wallowing, keep us down, keep us apart… The reality is that we are in a war, against sin yes, but also against ourselves…. we cannot give up…. we cannot surrender… especially when everything in us justifies the path we somehow ended up on.

I share this with you because with everything going on in my life I had started to veer towards the wrong path and I didn’t even realize it.  The enemy started small, a little corner cut here, a church service skipped there. It appears harmless, at first, but then it snowballs. And just like the frog slowly boiling to death in that pot, we sit, not noticing that we are in serious trouble.

It was brought to my attention by a mighty woman of God who listened to the Spirit’s prompting and was brave enough to act on it. And in doing so God was able to smack me upside my head to show me the truth of my situation.

Without even realizing, I gave the enemy a foothold in the midst of my pain.  I have begun to isolate, then as time went on my old self destruction has started whispering in my ear.

So low key, I didn’t even recognize….

Now I, just like you have a choice. Do I justify and carry on, or do I allow my eyes to be opened to the truth and turn around?

It’s never too late to turn back…. it’s never too much that we should give up…. and we are never strong enough to do it on our own. We need Him, and we need each other.

1 Peter 5:8
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Ecclesiastes 4:12
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Heb 10:23-25
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”

Justin Ludwig

Photo from: http://www.examiner.com/article/the-christian-path