Purpose For Your Pain

20171204_220732272509105.jpg God is not capable of failing us…. God is not capable of making mistakes… and He is absolutely, indescribably in love with us.

When my marriage fell apart, it hurt so bad. The last thing I was thinking was that the pain was the only way for me to become the man I wanted to be…. When my kids moved away from me and my heart was shredded…… the last thing I was thinking was that the excruciating pain of losing my children was exactly what I needed to become the father that I wanted to be…. the father my kids so desperately needed me to be.

And when I gave up all hope, and I finally accepted that I was a lost cause, the last thing I was thinking was that at that moment, God was about to change everything.

Through the love and grace of Christ I have been blessed with the life that I never dared dream. When I look back at my life I cannot help but notice that if every single one of those horrible things didn’t happen to me… If I didn’t experience every mistake, every heartbreak, and ounce of pain, I would not have what I now have. Just like Joseph in Genesis 37, God had amazing plans for this young man, but God is no fool. He will not entrust things to people who are not prepared to handle them.

When your pain seems too strong…… when there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel, trust in His Truth…. He is working, and He will finish the work He has started. He will come through, and in a way we will never see coming.

Our feelings, our fears, and even our thoughts will lie to us. They will tell us that God will not come through, so we need to do it ourselves.

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

I live in California and my kids just moved to Louisiana because their mother is in the military. This is the third time I have had to say goodbye to my children, and, to be totally honest, it only gets harder. It takes courage to trust in God’s timing. But when I find myself completely stressing out because of them being so far away, the what-if’s creep into the back of my mind and before I know it, I am doubting that God will come through for me. It is so subtle how the doubt infiltrates. My faith in God’s goodness, love and truth is so strong, because I know He is good, but I am not immune.

I can shout that I have all the faith in the world, but if I am seeking truth regarding my faith and my walk with Christ, I cannot help but recognize that even though I do trust God down to the marrow in my bones. I cannot ignore the fact that if I am having such fear and anxiety of “what if,” then I am not trusting God like I thought I was.

I share this truth about myself for one reason, and that is that I am not sitting here, on some spiritual mountaintop spouting inspiration. In this season of mourning and loss in my life, God has shown up, inspired and come through for me in ways that I will discuss in future posts.

No matter how terrifying, no matter how hopeless or defeated ….. Seek His face……hear His voice….and no matter what, trust His promises.

Thank You Father for being so perfect… so trustworthy

Written by: Justin Ludwig

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God -2 Cor 3:4

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

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

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

When Opinions Overshadow Compassion

We are not our politics, our social status or our country…. we are human beings.

When tragedy strikes it seems I see and hear countless comments of blame and claim but very little mourning for the lost of the innocent. Being completely real with you I have been guilty of this in the past on more than one occasion, maybe some can relate. When we get swept up in the politics of a tragedy instead of the actual tragedy; ie. arguing a point on gun control or getting upset because of some political move made by a world leader while nothe really focusing on the fact that innocent men, woman and/or children may have died, or worse. All the while overlooking the sheer horror of a situation or event…..

We cannot let our opinions replace the love of Christ in our hearts, we cannot turn a blind eye because it’s uncomfortable and we must always seek compassion and love over all else.

“I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother.” – Ps 35:14

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”- John 4:7-9

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” -Col 3:2


Written by: Justin Ludwig

Photo credit: Rachelwojo.com 

Exiles of this Age

Holy Spirit impressed something on my heart I wanted to share with all of you. In Mark 5:1-20  Jesus comes across a cursed man. This man was 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. They exiled him 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 to help him, then they resorted to simply trying to confine him. In their fear and desperation they chained the man down, but his demons were so powerful they snapped the chains like strings. Unable to deal with him, they exiled him to the tombs, to suffer in his torment.

Imagine this man, possessed by such darkness. The scripture says he howled into the night, cutting himself with stones…. The pain of this man… this man who fell victim to a darkness much stronger than himself.

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. People broken, lost, hurting and alone. Those outside of our comfort zone that are howling in pain like this possessed man. How will they know the hope we have found 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 what you should do. 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

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Addicts Aren’t Beyond Hope

I went to Teen Challenge in 2012 and my life has never been the same, all glory to Jesus! I was as bad as it gets for most of my life. I was strung out, full of hate and pain. Thanks to this ministry and the grace of God I have been redeemed! It was all God but Teen Challenge gave me the foundation in Christ that I needed to overcome a lifetime of addiction, hurt and brokenness. I tried everything from rehabs, jail and mental wards…. gutters, inpatient and outpatient programs… nothing worked.

I am walking taking proof that no one is too far gone, nobody is beyond redemption, and through Christ everyone has hope.

I encourage you to get involved, however that looks. Be blessed my brothers and sisters.

http://www.teenchallenge.org/

 

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Can you hear Him?

wp-1507962515119.jpgCan you hear Him?

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

Prayer is power. I want to pray for you!!!

Prayer is power. I want to pray for you!!!

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

I have talked about the power of prayer on so many occasions. In my walk with Christ I have come to recognize and understand prayer as much more than some ritual or something we do to make ourselves feel better when we are out of options. Prayer is a time we are able come before God with boldness, openess and sincerity. We come before God with our hearts laid bare and with hope. Knowing that He hears us, that He loves us and that He can be trusted…. But if we were to pause and ask ourselves, “How much do we truly believe in the effectiveness of our prayers?

If each one of us were to take a fearless look at ourselves and ask, “Down to my core, do I truly trust that He hears me? Do I trust that my faith is for real, that God is absolutely, unequivocally a reality and when I pray it does make an actual difference?

I don’t pose this question to challenge, judge or question anybodys faith. Being completely raw and real I will be the first to admit that there have been times where the doubts have crept in…. I had been deceived by the enemy before, just as I am sure you have.

Prayer is such an intimate and powerful experience….. we cry out to Him in our anguish and we request the desires of our hearts! We sing His praises when He blesses us and we ask for guidance in this confusion we call life.

I am here to remind you that the power of prayer is for real. We are called to pray for each other and to do so often, in private and in action…..

In my journey with the Lord I have seen prayers being answered first hand. I have seen people’s hearts changed over night in dramatic ways. I was able to experience the gift of toungues, which I didn’t even believe in until He spoke trough me, all because my friend was praying for me. I have experienced freedom from unbreakable addictions and afflictions…. I could list countless experiences that have brought me to this firm knowledge that prayer does indeed work; both practically and in ways that cannot be explained by the secular world beyond coincidence.

What we must realize is that the doubts will come from time to time. The enemy is working night and day to mess with our head. To try and cast doubt about God, about ourselves and each other….this punk is an influencer of self destruction and hate and is always trying to fool us into doubting God!

I want everyone to know that prayer the most powerful thing we do. I want each of us to know, down to our core the reality of our faith and the real power prayer has. I want to offer my heart to you. Below is a link to my prayer page which allows you to send a prayer request or praise report.

I keep all prayers is complete confidence and if you put your email I will email you a heartfelt and faith filled prayer so you know how I am praying so you can see God working. No tricks, no advertising…. just love, in action. Please feel free to get specific with your prayers, because when we pray specifically, we will be able to see God work more clearly and our faith will grow!

If you feel Holy Spirit tugging at your heart, don’t hesitate. Let me intercede for you.

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

Written by: Justin Ludwig


He replied l, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there and it will move.. Nothing is impossible for you.” -Matt 17:20

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16.

Grace & Warfare 

wp-1509244780595.jpgGrace…. 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.

Sometimes the guilt of our mistakes allows the enemy a foothold. We feel we don’t deserve to be forgiven so we condemn ourselves. The beautiful truth is, we don’t deserve it, but we get it anyways! God’s love and grace is so far beyond our comprehension. Be blessed and bask in the freedom of His amazing grace.

Be blessed and bask in the freedom of His amazing 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

20180512_1013201078402913.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Choose to Trust Him

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Bitter Sweet Blessings

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

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

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

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

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

Philippians 4:8

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

Love in the Darkness 

​Drowning in a sea of faces 

      Breathing 

           suffocating

              Merely surviving

  …… to what end!?

 one of a billion helpless souls 

            breath, fear, doomed 

        Resides 

  …….festers to the final breath 

      in the silence I welcome the end 

       My eyes close…..

   they open facing an angel 

    a million questions 

       She smiled

    all answered….

My savior 

    A million more…..

           …those can wait 

                   for I feel

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

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

I want to Pray for You, Use Me!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me love you, let me pray for you.

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

Written by Justin Ludwig 

Trust Him, No Matter What 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trust His plan, no matter what

He is trustworthy, I promise. 

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

I Trust So I Wait 

What do I do

  What do I do?

     What! 

Frantic conflict

 Peaceful…… fear

   Terrified, but with hope 

Letting go …..

    I have to do something!

  ……”wait”

      Waiting

Accomplished only by the determined

  Attacks 

      Lies and pain

 Ensured so endured 

Truest test of faith

 …..waiting 

From my core …. I believe 

…. but he pain does not subside 

What do I do!

   Trust

I do, but……..

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

Over Them, I Weep 

​Time is just slipping away….

      Slipping….

Already gone

 In their beds…..where the rain falls often

       Far far away……

    …they grow 

       To my core I weep

I have my hope, but lost my heart 

       I weep….

Shadows of past sins 

  Some never leave

Lessons of vigilance constant

   Always there

 Pain…… sorrow

        I weep

 Sadness over the loss of the present 

       Far far away

Do they know my heart……

 I hope they know

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

We Love You, Right Where You’re At

​Why is it such an uncomfortable topic, Christianity? 

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

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

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

We All Need Prayer

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

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

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

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

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

Surrender 

​Greatest Enemy 

             oneself 

      sickening irony 

       Its one in the same 

           the problem 

             the solution 

        infuriating cycle 

               Halt the cycle!

       Reality, what is it

   Unbelievably painful 

         Life’s Deal

    Futile winning

      …… simply procrastinating

Written by: Justin Ludwig sometime between 1999-2012

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

Wandering 

​ Begin journey 

          an eternity ago

    fixed on a destination

          the only oasis  

              years I traveled 

          fixed on a point 

   this point I saw

Every night as slept 

          As I dreamt 

I felt mad 

        …….for it dreamed of me 

it was my purpose 

       To stand in my dream

 Basking in it with my waking eyes

            so I trudged on 

then night came

       I lost my way 

 unaware how

  Faith, dreams Drive

         Unchanged 

               So I continued

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

         …… gone

 til it’s not

Written by: Justin Ludwig sometime between 1999-2012

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

He Has a Purpose for Your Pain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by: Justin Ludwig

Changed by the Spirit 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weight of Regret

175 pulling 1000

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

Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

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

Drowning in Sin’s Cycle

​Gasping for life

    silent battle

    the dead of the end

         the beginning again

the past screams

    again and again

muted shouts fill life

     self incarceration

        Trapped

Stifling freedom constricts me

    guilt

        Shame

Labels too shallow

    too much to indulge

    simmering it seems

             it seems

    …waiting

        for a cataclysmic event

    but it passed

long long ago … even if yesterday

    tomorrow

        another yesterday


Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

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

Glance back, Gaze Forward 

Gazing, the wreckage

        its entirety       

awestricking   Sickening

  amazing

how much I lost on my journey

    …..to right here

bedrock is nowhere left to hide

      the destruction

      easily avoided

looking back

  helpless

  I’ve…

          ……stopped?

       folding the fight

          all remaining

reality checks

                 never ending

          stifling

humbling

my journey

saved from myself

is just beginning

       if……

  

Written by: Justin Ludwig December 9, 2011.

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

What Happened

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

Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

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

Running Out of Chances

Running Out of Chances

Soulless

       Soulless!!

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

Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

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

Praying through the Pain

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

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

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

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

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

Written by: Justin Ludwig

 

 

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

My Journey into Madness

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

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

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

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

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

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

Journey continues…

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

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

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

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

Written by: Justin Ludwig October 2011

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

07: Living Merely Memories

07: Living Merely Memories

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

Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

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

:Nothing Unanswered

Nothing Unanswered

        hurts to breathe

to move is worse

             like a victim of a curse

all alone

no way out

            fuck it all I want to die

Problem is my kids would cry

then ask mommy why did daddy die

He was sick, she would sigh

That’s the reason I can’t die

 Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

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

Unyieldingly Heartache

: Unyieldingly Heartache

Uncertain

        what’s to come

   paralyzed in the past

               when devil ran rampant

hurt those few

                          the ones I love

…..my eyes  opened just in time to see everything slip away

I’ll never forget……

              they  drove away taking my heart with them

         no one to blame except me……

 

Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

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

Blinding Hindsight

: Blinding Hindsight

there was a time I had it all

         now when I think, it makes me bawl

                          I had my dream

              I pissed away

              blind until it was too late

              Now all I have is self hate

              how can this have become my fate

                              she was the one

                               I let her slip

                                slip away

 Frozen in time

          ….. in time I cannot forget the pain

                          that painful day

I had to watch her, drive away

 

Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

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

Solo Mutiny

:Solo Mutiny

Enemy infiltration

a double agent out for blood

               silently

                     methodically

                        it destroys the enemy

          if seen it will be too late

              conniving

                        manipulating

                             consuming with bloodlust

knowledge of his presence

………seen you cannot be stopped

                            cannibalism to a sickening degree

        Welcome to me, a puppet master

                               sadistically pulling the strings

every puppet dances

                   They dance with such shame, remorse and self-loathing

                                             two choices

               cut the strings and run or just dance the dance

Those that dance free…… we envy those few

For we still dance

Just not like you

 

Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012, when sin, darkness and addiction consumed me.

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

Purified by Pain

:Purified by Pain

Unwavering conflict

        confusion

birth to a personal enlightenment

    a new perspective

       achieved only in the darkness

hiding in the wasted soul

Obvious

while the devil smirkes

I sit in agony

    FOR he took my life from me

now I remain

           Bound and gagged

Silent

          darkness

this is what I see

everything clear

What was, is or ever will be

all of it means nothing

        I’m helplessly shackled

remain bound

Until I’m not anymore

 

Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012, when sin, darkness and addiction consumed me.

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

Delayed Sight Highlighting

    Delayed Sight Highlighting

Until it’s too late

           we the few won’t see

           why the things happen to me

All my gems were sold for free

Again And again

              in a frantic search

for those to blame

a flash

             Suddenly all I feel is shame

     confused at first

Now I, we

      the one to blame

              My God….. its me

 

Written by:  Justin Ludwig sometime between 1999-2012

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

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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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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

 

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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/

 

 

 

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As soon as I come to
The familiar dance
Heavy  dread
Instant review
The deafening silence
Awakening doubt
So overwhelming
….. I don’t dare cry out
What has changed, besides the day
…… Nothing
it’s just his way
Stirring the pot
Every chance
Every opportunity
Whispering so eerily
“No, He’s not”
You’re kidding yourself
I know who you are
They’ll all go away
I told you…..
so far
The suffocating reminder
The sickening fact
You’re all alone
You might  as well turn back
First chance their given
One screw up you’ll do
Pack up your shit
I can’t deal with you.
Thoughts of these things, and so many more
Consuming my hope
Affecting my core
If I didn’t know better
I’d think it was me
Whispering the lie
Who are you kidding, you’ll never be free
A tear rolls down
Feelings of utter defeat
Until He reminds me, just trust Me
And then you’ll see

Justin Ludwig

 

Photo by: Google Images

 

 

Declaration of Truth

 

 

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I remember before I knew Jesus, how lost and hurt I felt. I was so desperately looking for answers, but found myself only discovering more questions. I had finally come to the conclusion that I was a lost cause and had no hope. I would hear things like, “You need God in your life” and “You need to put your faith in Jesus,” but those words meant nothing to me. They were hollow, cliché words that people seemed to say to me just because.

Like so many others in this world, I had a tainted view of who God was and what it was to be a Christian. I wanted nothing to do with a God that was going to remind me of how much of a failure I was. I just couldn’t understand how these “holier than thou” people thought embracing a God that I had no ability to obey, or even please, could change anything. Like so many others, I had closed the door on God because I simply didn’t know. I didn’t know that He wasn’t upset with me. I didn’t know how proud He was of me. I simply didn’t know the truth – that the entire reason Christ came is because I was a hopeless failure who couldn’t possibly obey God’s law, and it’s because of this that He died on the cross to save me from myself, simply because He loves me.

You see it everyday, Christians spewing hate in the name of God. The loudest ones seem to be the ones sharing about a God full of hate and vengeance, individuals who push people away from Christ by changing a God of love into a hateful and unloving deity.

This is exactly why it is imperative for us, as believers, to share what we have found. I don’t know if it is shyness or fear of judgment that keeps a believer from sharing about Christ, but it has to stop! The freedom, love, and the incredible hope that God offers is lost on so many people because they don’t understand, or even worse, they think that they understand, but are basing their information on the preaching of the proud, the ignorant, or the downright hateful.

Think about it – right now, this very second, there are countless people hurting, alone, and scared, with absolutely no hope, who want to believe and need God to save them from themselves; but they cannot, nor do they want, to follow this God that they think they know based on the rantings of people who have perverted the message of the unconditional love of God. These people need to know what you know. You don’t need to have scripture memorized or have all of the perfect answers. Just sharing with them the God that you know, the God that you have experienced and felt, the simple story of your life, and of who God is to you, will change lives. I am living proof of that.

Most non believers are firmly against who we are and the God we serve based on inaccurate and twisted information. It is up to each one of us to set the record straight, not by pointing fingers and telling those people they are doing it wrong, or to do it my way, but by simply letting them see firsthand that it is about freedom, not restriction; forgiveness, not condemnation; and, most importantly, that our God is a God of love, not hate.


Justin Ludwig