Dying to Flourish

Lately the passage in John where Jesus is talking about the head of wheat that must die in order to flourish and birth a crop has been coming to mind There is such significance to this parable and I feel it is a crucial passage for anyone who wants to spread the Truth.

Since we are the image of that head of wheat, the message becomes clear that we have two choices; choose ourselves or choose the gospel. If our focus is on ourselves and our own well-being, all we will do is remain an intact head of wheat until we wither away and die. But if we choose to die to ourselves and live each day for Christ, then we become a living picture of the fallen, yet fruitful kernel.

By dying to our selfish ways of thinking, acting and living we instead choose to live for Jesus, which is love, service and grace. Each day we must pray on this passage and ask ourselves what is our priority?

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:24

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Watch “Teen Challenge Creation Skit” on YouTube

I came across a video from when I was in the Teen Challenge on the Drama Team. We would go to churches and schools, perform and then share of the power of God in our hopeless situations to inspire hope.

Sharing our hope is what we are called to do…. no matter what it may look like.

Teen Challenge 2013 Drama Team- “Creation Skit” (Me)

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 

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

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 

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 

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

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

Prayer and Action

I say it constantly, that prayer is power, and it is, but too often that is where it stops.

People lift up their troubles and fears with the hopes that God will just suddenly make everything better. What we as Christians need to realize is that a lot of times we must take action in order for our prayers to be answered

If you look through scriptures, this fact is played out time and time again.

In Exodus 17 when the Israelites are battling the Amalekites, Moses must keep the staff of God raised over his head in order for the Israelites to triumph, and when his hands fall, the enemies of God begin to win. In Joshua 6, they are required to march around the city of Jericho seven times and let out a cry of victory before the walls would come crumbling down so God’s promise would be fulfilled. And my personal favorite on this topic is the parting of the Red

“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. -Exodus 14:13-17

I could go on and on with examples but I think y’all get where I am going with this. Prayer is indeed power. The fellowship and council of Jesus Christ is the most powerful weapon that we can wield. But He is not a magic genie that will just magically whisk our problems.

Look, the bottom line is that we serve an all powerful God who wants to bless us beyond measure, but He expects us to take action, and sometimes yes, the action is to wait or do nothing.
If you feel like your prayers aren’t being answered, ask Him what He wants you to do. The hard part is, when He gives you the answer, and He will, you actually have to do it.

He will not solve all of our problems for us. He wants to use us, to bless us

When we put this fact into practice, we are able to be blessed beyond anything we dared dream.

Written by: Justin Ludwig

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I was on my way to work today and I started to think about the disciples. How incredible it must have been to walk with Jesus, knowing that you were being guided by God Himself. These people gave up everything that they had ever known and held dear to follow Jesus, because they knew without a doubt that this Man was the Messiah. I mean the hope and encouragement that these people must have felt and experienced,  knowing that they were walking, talking and learning from God Himself.  Wow!

Then one night…… He is captured, taken into custody and sentenced to be beaten and crucified. I have know idea what must have been going on inside of the disciples as all of this is going on.

The word tells us how scared they all were; they ran, they hid,  and Peter denied even knowing Him while He was still alive. Personally, I like to think that they still had hope, knowing that He was God., and that they were waiting for something amazing to happen…. but it didn’t.

Before everyone’s eyes Jesus took His last breath and died.

Can you image what they must have felt in that moment?

A tidal wave of hopelessness and fear just engulfing them as they gaze at their conquering hero’s body hanging there beaten, broken and lifeless. Their entire world crashing down around them before their very eyes, with the thrust of a spear.

Little did they know at the time, but God was about to change everything in a way that they never could have predicted or even dared dream.

In your darkest hours…… when all hope seems lost and everything in your life seems to be unraveling and falling apart, don’t lose hope…

God is about to change everything, in a way you never saw coming.

“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

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

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

Justin Ludwig

Photo from: http://njomuad-thebeloved.blogspot.com/

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God is right here, in the middle of our hurt and our pain shouting that He loves us.

 It was so hard to watch the cancer eat away at my dad. It seemed to be happening so slow, yet so fast at the same time. The range of emotions I experienced I won’t even begin to list. But with everything going on, time and time again, seeing God reaching out to my father was such a faith strengthening and amazing experience.

I found the entire ordeal with my father to be something of a bittersweet experience. Watching him wither away right before my eyes, his body not working, his mind fading fast, and a fear in his eyes that a child never wants to see on their dad’s face… it was just heartbreaking. But in the midst of this sadness, watching God work, by softening my dad’s heart, so I could finally have a relationship with him before the end. My mom drawing close to God because of the pain, and guys, the seemingly random and amazing ways both my wife and I have seen God reaching out to dad, offering His love and salvation… it is just mind blowing. These are just a few of the blessings that have come about because my dad got sick.

This is what we need to recognize and focus on in the midst of the chaos and pain in our lives. If we focus on the pain instead of God, the burden becomes too great. When our focus is on God, the pain is still there, but we are now able to see how God is using the situation for His purpose. And watching Him comfort, love and bless those affected by their trails takes the chaos out of the pain, and that gives us hope.

He is good everyone, always. My prayer for all of us is that we will hold onto that truth and never forget.

Justin Ludwig

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”-Is 41:10

“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you”.-1Peter 5:7

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jer 29:11-13

Justin Ludwig

Photo from: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/263460646924388572/

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Without faith how can we ever hope to be blessed to the extent that God desires for us?  Take David for example; God let David know what amazing plans that He had for his life. Then all of a sudden, his life is turned upside down. His path took a drastic turn, much different from what was promised to him. Instead of glory and kingship, he was living in caves and running for his life from the very people he was supposed to rule. How easy it would have been for David to turn his back on God….

What if he had done what so many Christians do now a days and lose hope in the character of God because things are playing out differently than they had envisioned?

As the story plays out we see that all of the chaos, all of the pain and drama was imperative to build David’s character, to prepare him to lead God’s people, God’s way. Simply put, if David had not gone through all of that insanity, he would not have been capable of handling what God wanted to give him. His blessing could have turned on him and become a curse, because he was not ready.

He is working on You, right now…. Right now in your pain, in your boredom, your frustrations and fears, He is working on fulfilling His promises. Don’t lose hope my brothers and sisters, I have seen it and experienced it first hand. He will come through for you. My prayer is that every one of us will never waiver from this truth, and then, and only then can we truly be the followers that He desires instead of just another fan.

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

Justin Ludwig

 

Photo from: http://www.parkerfordchurch.com/blog/2012/05/02/has-god-been-at-work/

 

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The Holy Spirit impressed something on my heart I feel I should share with all of you. Mark 5:1-20; Jesus has come across a cursed man. Possessed by not one demon, but a legion of demons.  The hold that they 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, they tried everything they could think of. Even when in desperation, they chained the man down, but his demons were so powerful and they would 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 circumstance.

I am not saying that you should head down some dark alley looking for lost souls. I am just saying that He wants to use you….don’t be afraid or over think how God could possibly use you. With a single smile or a word said from love, the 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

Justin Ludwig

 

Photo from: http://www.reflectionsforliving.com/reflection/248/in-gods-grip/

 

 

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I was reflecting and praying on what the Holy Spirit was revealing and confirming in my life, and in my heart. I began talking with my wife and just letting out exactly how I was feeling. Why I am afraid and why I feel I am having such a hard time, and then in mid sentence I hear a whisper in my heart, “Remember”.

It was such a distinct voice inside of me that it stopped me in mid sentence. But I continued on with my feelings of being overwhelmed, and I kid you not I heard it again, “Justin, focus, remember”.

This time I stopped and my thoughts began to drift back. They drifted back to a time where the pain, the trials and the loss was all I knew. As I am thinking about this I began to remember how hopeless and fearful I was. I was convinced that there was no happy ending for me. I remembered exactly how it felt back then. I always felt like I was in a tunnel, so dark, so cold with no way out. I was bound and gagged in the darkness, with nothing but the promise of death to comfort me. I had given up on trying to find my way out of that tunnel years before…. I had written myself off as irretrievable.

Little did I know at the time but every single painful experience, every heart broken, and every loved one lost was exactly what I needed to get me where I am today… and all of a sudden I heard it again, “Now don’t forget”.

Then it all clicked, and the Holy Spirit tied everything together…. how I have been feeling, why I am truly afraid…. Suddenly everything just fit into place and I was able to see….. this is my role with God!

I must remember… I must remember that place in my life…. I must remember how all I saw was the hurt and pain, with no way out. Completely unaware that God had already set into motion years before a chain of events that would change everything. That I had to feel the pain of losing my children to be changed into the father that my kids needed and deserved. That I had to experience the hurt, pain, and sorrow of a broken marriage….of a broken life, in order to become the husband and man that I so desperately wished I was but had lost hope I could ever become.

This is realization I have had many times before but this time it slammed into me like I was recognizing this for the first time, and the Spirit washes over me as I remember…… He came through in a way that I never saw coming…..and He will again.

 

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago.” -Psalms 77:11

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” -Prov 3:5-6

“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

Justin Ludwig

Photo from: http://godrulzdownloads.blogspot.com/2009/05/crucified.html

 

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Lately the Spirit has really been speaking to me through music.  I always find it awesome when the Spirit speaks to me through secular music. When God’s truth is proclaimed to His children in a way that transcends the original intent of the message. I’ve always  loved punk music, and there is a line that has been stuck in my head. It goes something like;

“Get up, get up your voices are needed! Become, become the pulse of the revolution!”

The writer’s intent of these lyrics is referring to a social and political revolution. But by the Spirit’s power, wisdom and pure awesomeness He has spoken a very different message into my heart.

The Spirit screaming into my ears a very real reminder of what He wants in my/our life and in my/our heart…. a revolution.

The revolution that He/I/we speak of is not a revolution against the establishment or against society. I am referring to a revolution much deeper, much more profound and important….

I am referring to a revolution of the Spirit!

This world is overrun by the kingdom of the power of  the air and we have a responsibility to rise up and take our place as warrior of God Almighty and let the world know that there are answers. Let them know that there is hope and that they are loved.
That God, heaven, and eternity are right there waiting for them to embrace His love and freedom. God has empowered us with His Spirit inside of us. The very same power that rose Jesus Christ from the grave is in you!

This is as real as it gets people so remember that You, I, we  need to…. No we must  stand up, speak boldly, and live a life saturated with His presence.

Hearing these lyrics reminds me that every single one of us needs to speak and become the pulse of the revolution. How many are staying silent assuming  others will take up the slack and proclaim God’s truth for them? How many are consumed by their situation and disqualify themselves from speaking His truth because the “don’t feel worthy” or just feel like a hypocrite. I urge you to pray on this next thought.

All of these roadblocks that justify why we don’t proclaim the truth of the Spirit, the fear that keeps our lips sealed, and those voices in the back of our heads accusing us…. “who am I?”, “I am not “qualified to speak God’s truth.” “I don’t know enough about scripture to be an effective witness.” “I can’t get over my own sin, so who am to lift up my brother or sister when I am still such a mess?”

These are boldface lies from the enemy. Every single one of us have the power that rose Christ from the grave, healed those “who could not be healed” The power inside of you was the very same power that healed mine and millions of others broken hearts and broken lives… and changed  everything.

For me, someone told me Jesus loved me, and later I read a single verse
“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God” Ps 46:10.

That was it, that was all the Spirit needed to incite the rebellion in my heart against the the enemies of God.

Every single one of your voices is needed! We have talked about it before, that we all have the responsibility  to play a very crucial role in this war against the flesh, against the devil  and against ourselves.

We all have the same objective, to proclaim to the world of the truth and the indescribable hope we have found.  But the reality is, even though I am on fire for God and am knowledgeable in His word, I cannot effectively witness to everyone because the Spirit uses everyone for a specific reason.

Each person has the ability to reach people that nobody else can. And if we keep our mouths shut, assuming someone else will do it for us,  we have pushed that perishing  person further to the dark side because we didn’t simply tell them what we have found. It is not our job to convert people to the faith. Our job is to stand up and let the world know what we know, and God will work on their hearts and do the rest.

Have faith in the power of the Spirit, rise up and join me!! We cannot do this without you because only you can speak life into your world. Only you can reach those lost souls that won’t listen to anyone else but you!!

I’ve said it before, but speaking  what you know of God, no matter if it is articulate or profound, lives will be changed and souls will be saved.  Just open you’re mouth and sincerely  speak of what you know and just like my punk lyrics, the Spirit will reveal a picture of hope, strength and salvation to the perishing, the hopeless and the lost .

Our God, our salvation and our faith is no fairy tale, this is for real.
Your voices are needed. Dont assume someone else will do it. We are that someone else, and it’s time to stand up, speak out and change the world, for His glory.

Justin Ludwig

 

Photo from: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/180073685070830068/

 

 

wp-1462378872425.jpegThere is a Christian heavy metal band that I listen to called Sleeping Giant. A line of one of their songs has been drifting in my head and it goes something like this;

“I can’t see Jesus in this, it pollutes my trust and it fills my heart with hate”

I have always been drawn to these lyrics and many like it because it is so raw, truthful and real about what we face as followers of Christ. And apparently the Spirit wants me to share it with y’all because this is where He is guiding me.

How many christians jump ship just before God’s blessing is unveiled? How many people turn their trials and heartache into hate?  And how many people will spend the rest of their lives wandering the desert because they couldn’t see Jesus working for them… so they curse Him.
I have talked about it before like many others have, how we must look past our circumstances. But far too often that is where the “counsel” stops, leaving some wondering what the hell that even means.

Does it mean I have to just hold on because eventually this issue or situation will pass, then I will get the blessing that I know God has for me?

What if my kids moving so far away from me is the only way for them to be exactly where God wants them to be when He will shower them with blessings?
Who would have thought that all of my suffering was exactly what had to happen for the blessed life and guaranteed eternity I now have.

We can’t trust our truth. You, I, we gotta trust God’s truth, and God’s truth is that He is always working for us in ways we will see in time and a lot of times we will never even recognize it because HE freakin loves us so much!

It is a wonderful thing to look forward to heaven, I do it every day. But when I am looking past my circumstance I am not looking to heaven. I am recognizing that even though I don’t know it, that I may not feel it, I know that everything is happening exactly how He wants it to and I know that that is for good… because our God is so good, always and forever He is good.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Phil 4:6-7

“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” -John 3:16

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”-1 Cor.4:17

“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

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,  because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20

Justin Ludwig

 

Photo from: http://livingthejourney.com/2014/01/06/day-6-just-sit-down-will-you/but-god-ephesians-2/

Stop Doubting the power of God

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I have so much love and devotion to God. The Holy Spirit has blessed me with the eyes to see His hand In my past, present and future. … but that doesn’t always stop my demons and pain from reminding me that the past is not forgotten.
Some days… I wake up overwhelmed by my demons.  Demons whispering in my ear that I am kidding myself. When feelings of cutting myself become such a “perfect solution.” When I desire death with all my heart and am overwhelmed by hate…

Some may ask, where the hell is Jesus in all of this?

When I have the overwhelming urge to drag a blade across my body…. He is there…. When I am convinced I am kidding myself about God, myself and my hope…. He is there…. and when I crave the silence of the grave because all I feel is sadness, pain and anger, He is there.

There is so much pain in this life. We all have our burdens to bear; death, loss, fear, uncertainty, pain, hate, selfishness, addiction, or even the overwhelming desire to destroy ourselves.
I share this raw and honest portrayal of my burdens for one reason……

Stop!!!!!

Stop believing the lie that you are too far gone… Stop pitying yourself because “there is no way anyone understands why it is so hard for me!”

When you  feel so horrible that you feel you cannot take another breath,  and you feel that Jesus may be able to help that other person, but not mu stuff… not me, because my situation is different.  Stop!!!!

These lies not only put God in a box, limiting what You will let Him do for you, with you and most importantly through You.

This “Sunday School” mentality of who people think God is or who He should be must stop….  it as no place in the kingdom of God.

Stop disqualified yourself as the exception and be empowered that God Almighty has your back and won’t leave you hanging.

His ways are so different than what we think they should be.

God has saved so many, so much worse…. so far gone, so hopeless.  Stop thinking or believing that you are different. You are not different, we are all the same…… let Him set You free….. daily.

God comes through, always…. God never lies,  and God will see You through to the very end.

You are not different, we are the same, and He will help you, me and every single person who truly wants His help.

He said “Be still and know that I am God” -Ps 46:10

“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” -Job 23:10

“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

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”-Phil 4:6-7

“He will not let your foot slip-He who watches over you will not slumber -Psalm” 121:3

“For my thoughts are not Your thoughts, neither are Your ways my ways,”declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth,so are My ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah:55:8-9

Justin Ludwig

 

Photo from: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/299137600220402669/

 

God won’t let go, Trust Him

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Towards the end of my dad’s battle with cancer he lost the ability to walk or even stand up. While I was sitting with him watching TV, I would watch him struggle to lift himself out of his chair, just to plop down 6 inches away to the bed.  I’d tell him, “Dad, just let me help you” But he would always refuse. At first it was his pride that prohibited him from accepting my help to do something that he “should” be able to do on his own.

As the weeks went on his ego seemed to become less and less important to him. His answer eventually changed from, “I want to do it myself”,  to, “No way, you are gonna drop me!”

I’d laugh when he would say this, not because his fear amused me, but more because I didn’t know what else to do. I have never seen my dad so helpless…. so vulnerable.

One evening as he was struggling, he finally asked, “Do you still want to help me?”…. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he said that to me. His face was filled with such defeat…. Such humiliation, embarrassment and frustration pouring out of his eyes. No matter how hard he tried to play it off as nothing, the reality of his pain was like a kick right in my stomach.

I smiled at him, and said “Absolutely pops, I got you.”

As I stood up I heard him take a deep breath and say, “Man, you better not drop me”. I walked over and positioned myself so I was stable. I bent down and wrapped my arms around him…. I had such firm footing…. I had a grip on my father that I would not lose.

As I am lifting him up and all of his weight is under me, we were face to face, in my arms with his eyes locked with mine. Completely panicked, he started pleading, “Please don’t drop me!, Don’t drop me, I’LL fall, I can’t catch myself, don’t drop me!!!”.

The fear in his eyes…… I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

I smiled at him in the midst of his panic, with all of the peace I could muster. In his fear and without a thought…. without hesitation I whispered to him “I’ve got you, trust me… I will not drop you”.

Suddenly the fear melted away as he looked at me…. studying my face for a moment and said, Ok, thanks”

God’s got us in His grip. In the thick of our fears….. when life feels like it is slipping away and all that’s left is helplessness and pain.  His grip on us is so tight…. His footing is unshakeable….

Can you hear Him?

  … “trust Me, I got you”

Just like my dad, we hear these words, but the fear takes hold. The helplessness washes over until it is all we can see.

It is irrelevant how we feel, because it doesn’t change the truth….. He’s got us, and when the fear… or dare I say, the horror consumes us. We must study the face of God, and say “Ok, I’ll trust you”.

“For I am the Lord your God
   who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
   I will help you.” -Isaiah 41:13

“They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.” -Psalm 112:7

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in You” -Psalm 56:3

Justin Ludwig

 

Photo from: http://www.susanltuttle.com/2012/01/his-hand.html

 

 

Warfare

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I was thinking, how easy would it be if the devil’s appearance and tactics were as clear as they are in the movies. A person or creature that just exudes evil. That picture we have in our head of this demonic force that wants to destroy you, and rob you of any happiness that you may have, or may some day have.
Wouldn’t our walk with Christ be so much easier if the devil really did just appear in your face, straight out of hell, horns on his head with the stank of sulfur on his breath with an unquenchable appetite for destruction.
So obvious that anyone would be a fool not to run for their lives….. for their souls.
But the devil is much more cunning than that.  He lurks in the shadows…. the dark corners of our minds and hearts telling us exactly what we want to hear. …”Go ahead,”

Instead of bursting into our lives brutally murdering our family and stealing everything we ever held dear, he takes a different approach. He will send a married man “the woman of his dreams” other than his wife as a co worker. He will remind you that if you don’t take care of yourself, nobody will.  He nudges you to look at that person next to you and to judge them…. to judge how they look, what they say, and why we are better than them.
The evil one will remind us that we “deserve” to be happy, and that life is too short to not do what you want to do, when you want to do it, “so go ahead and do it.”

We must learn to see these tactics as weapons against God, His kingdom as well as the body of Christ, and not as truth. If we do not learn to recognize his tactics, we begin to believe them to be truth.
The objective of the enemy is clear and simple. He mission is to kill, steal and destroy, and it is not going to appear to you in a way that is obvious. I kid you not y’all, the devil gets off on pitting us against each other. The devil’s greatest weapon is deception. And he will use fear and doubt to cause strife and turmoil within our lives, and within our relationships with the ultimate goal of separating us from God.

For myself when I am attacked I thank God that I am aware of it. The reason being, when I am being attacked, I begin to doubt everything. My head tells me that I am just kidding myself about God. The self loathing all of a sudden begins to fester in my heart like it used to, when I had no hope. I feel so distant…. in ways that I can’t even begin to describe, or perhaps I just don’t want to.
These feelings are real….so real. The mirage of hopelessness is so thick and if you don’t know where you are going you could get lost.

Seek Jesus…. seek His word. This is the only way to fight the attack. The tripped out thing is, for me, even though I know what I should do and turn to God, everything inside of me will tell me not to do it. .. and it feels so real. I kid you not there have been times I had to force myself to even say the name Jesus…… I did not want to worship, I did not want to open my bible, I didn’t want to talk to God and the last thing I wanted to do was tell somebody how I was feeling……
This is how the devil gets down y’all. If he can isolate us from each other, then he is in a much better position to convince us to begin or continue isolating from God…. and then he’s got us …. or will eventually get us.

We need each other y’all. I tell the truth when I say that spiritual warfare is very real. An battle constantly raging inside of us and all around us. As children of God sealed with the Holy Spirit, we are a target.
This is the reality….. to some this is just a fairy tale or story but I am here to tell you all that this is for real. Our God is real….. the enemy is real and the battle for your soul is a very real one. I have seen and experienced enough things that have shown me that there is a war going on for your soul right now. We desperately, desperately need God, but we also desperately need each other.

We must not let the enemy deceive us in order to divide us, so that he can have us. Stand firm on God’s word and call upon the Holy Spirit and your brothers and sisters when these fears and doubts begin or once they are recognized. Don’t hesitate and talk yourself out of reaching out, because that is him, isolating you. I am telling you, this is for real!!
The enemy is not as powerful as he wants you to believe…. But during the attack if you are not aware of what is happening, the lies seem so true, so real, so final….

Let’s stand fast and stand boldly against the enemy, together.

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

2 Cor 2:10-12
Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

Eph 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

John 10:10
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”

James 4:7
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

-Romans 16:17
“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them”

Justin Ludwig

 

Photo from: http://hopevabeach.org/stand-firm/