imageI find it so incredible how the Spirit speaks to us. I was walking into work this morning and as I am walking up the stairs, I dropped my keys. As soon as I heard them hit the ground I froze. I heard something, it was an almost audible voice in my head saying,

“You are not immune.”

I kid you not, I stood there for atleast a minute, staring at those keys, mumbling to myself, “I am not immune.”  It didn’t hit me right away, but about an hour into work it clicked and I understood what He was showing me.

For as long as I can remember, every time I would see someone drop something, I would  joke in my head that if I was holding it, I wouldn’t of dropped it. It’s silly I know, but what can I say, I’m weird. And when those keys hit the floor, with that joke as far from my mind as could be, I found myself recognizing that even I couldn’t stop myself from letting those keys drop out of my hand. Which guided my thoughts to a verse.

“Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.” -Psalms 26:2

That’s when I realized that the Spirit was both reminding and warning me about the severity of my condition. The bottom line is that I/we have a sinful, selfish and destructive heart. As a human we were just born with this sinful condition, passed down through Adam, and we will remain that way until we are glorified with Him.

There are so many things deep within me that can throw me off track in my walk with Christ. Selfish, sinful motives….my pride. Dare I say unintentional distortion of God’s word. Perhaps from past hurts or points of view that had been ingrained into me since birth. We all have things like this. If we didn’t then there would be no need for a Savior.

What the Spirit was reminding me was that if I don’t remain vigilant with the knowledge that I am not immune to this sin condition…. That if I am not vigilant in inspecting myself against the word of God daily, then I will surely become one of those Christians who lost their way.

I am not talking about the ones who turned away from God. I am talking about those who still truly believe that they are perfectly in God’s will, but their sin has changed their path. Their pride skewing their perceptions and intentions … and they just can’t see it.

Before we know it, we have become modern day Pharisees, proclaiming God’s greatness for our own glory.

Until we are face to face with Christ we are at war. With the powers of darkness and with the darkness within ourselves, and they both seek to destroy us. We must remain vigilant, humble, and seek His face, always

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Photo from: Google Images

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 

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

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

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

image

I find it so incredible how the Spirit speaks to us. I was walking into work this morning and as I am walking up the stairs, I dropped my keys. As soon as I heard them hit the ground I froze. I heard something, it was an almost audible voice in my head saying,

“You are not immune.”

I kid you not, I stood there for atleast a minute, staring at those keys, mumbling to myself, “I am not immune.”  It didn’t hit me right away, but about an hour into work it clicked and I understood what He was showing me.

For as long as I can remember, every time I would see someone drop something, I would  joke in my head
That if I was holding it, I wouldn’t of dropped it. It’s silly, I know, but what can I say, I’m weird. And when those keys hit the floor, with that joke as far from my mind as could be, I found myself recognizing that even I couldn’t stop myself from letting those keys drop out of my hand. Which guided my thoughts to a verse.

“Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.” -Psalms 26:2

That’s when I realized that the Spirit was both reminding and warning me about the severity of my condition. The bottom line is that I/we have a sinful, selfish and destructive heart. As a human we were just born that way, with this sinful condition passed down through Adam, and we will remain that way until we are glorified with Him.

There are so many things deep within me that can throw me off track in my walk with Christ. Selfish, sinful motives, my pride. Dare I say unintentional distortion  of God’s word perhaps from past hurts, or points of view that had been ingrained into me since birth. We all have things like this. If we didn’t then there would be no need for a Savior.

What the Spirit was reminding me was that if I don’t remain vigilant with the knowledge that I am not immune to this sin condition…. That if I am not vigilant in inspecting myself against the word of God daily, then I will surely become one of those Christians who lost their way.

I am not talking about the ones who turned away from God. I am talking about those who still truly believe that they are perfectly in God’s will, but their sin has changed their path. Their pride skewing their perceptions and intentions … and they just can’t see it.

Before we know it, we have become modern day Pharisees, proclaiming God’s greatness for our own glory.

Until we are face to face with Christ we are at war. With the powers of darkness and with the darkness within ourselves, and they both seek to destroy us. We must remain vigilant, humble, and seek His face, always

Justin Ludwig

Photo from: Google Images

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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/