When God doesn’t give us what we want

Let’s be honest, getting what we want is easy and fun. It is easy because there is no stress in getting your way, yes we may fret some and pant a little but in the end we get what we want. The fun is that we get to enjoy the gift or outcome of a given situation on our terms which is typically a win. And if you disagree with this you are either lying or WAY more holy than I am, kudos The difficulty in the reality of getting what we want when we want is that it is completely self-centered.Kid's receiving gifts

We see the given prize as our arrival, we see receiving that “perfect” grade on our test after debating with our teacher for an hour as the justice we are due. After praying for any given thing in life and not receiving at the time that we believe is “perfect” is seen as an injustice on God’s end. We believe that if God really loves us then, our asking of him in our every prayer will be answered with exactly what we demand.

The reality is that when God doesn’t hand over to me my every demand my response is anything but Christ-like. My response is resentment, bitterness, slander, envy, covetousness, and all other kinds of sin. All of which I believe are the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit. AND the issue there is that as a Christian, I am called to live by the Spirit and not of the flesh (Galatians 5:16-24). That is when is necessary to be reminded is that He is God. We are not. I am not. For me to see and understand the beauty of a perfect Father withholding things, removing people, giving good gifts to his redeemed yet sinful children is impossible(Luke 11:11-13). I personally love to receive gifts from people and God because it makes me feel important as well as special. I often easily (sinfully) find my identity and self-worth in how much someone actually is willing to give to me depending on a given circumstance.

But the lie I (we) tend to believe in all of this is that if God withholds something from me or if He does not gives me what I ask for then, He doesn’t love me. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Truth is that if you are believer in Christ, you have a perfect Father who withholds good things and bad things from you because He is infinitely for you in the valleys of life and in our victories. In fact, He loves us so much that He sent His perfect son to take our place in public shame of death on a cross in order to be in relationship with us (John 3:16). The Truth is that our Father has already given us everything we could ever need in the death & resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:3). The Truth is that if God never answers another one of my prayers, Christ paying the penalty of my sin is enough and more (Ephesians 1:3).

Best,

 

Daniel

“Just another imperfect guy trying to love a perfect God>”

The Gospel in the Lion King

“The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it”. – The Lion King.Scene from "The Lion King" of Simba and Scar.
 
This is a classic image from the film the Lion King in which Scar is manipulating Simba’s mind by telling him lie after lie in order to lead Simba away from the place he is supposed to be in life, which is in the precious sight of his Father. Scar fills Simba’s young mind with doubt, confusion of his identity, and a blurring image of the love his Father has for him. All of this leads to Simba living bitter and alone for most of his adolescence with his Father yearning for relationship with him.
 
It is absurd of how much this scene from a children’s film reflects our relationship with our Heavenly Father. It is so often that i find myself believing the lies of the enemy, leading me to have a false view of the Savior and sinful outlook on God’s vision and purpose for my life. When i fall victim to believing lies of me being to unclean to pray, that i have sinned way too much in my past to ever lead in ministry or in a relationship, or the lie that i have it together the “right way” and the guy next to me needs to get with Christ the “right way,”  i am ultimately lead into the wilderness as Simba was. It is then, that so often the Spirit leads me to Romans 8, which states, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1-4).” No matter what lies the enemy may try and fill my head with, i know because of an empty tomb and His holy Scripture, that there is no condemnation in Christ. Where i failed, Christ triumphed. And when my Father sees me, He sees me just as he sees Jesus, redeemed and eternally His.
 
But i believe the biggest lie i may believe is that God is not in control of my circumstance. He is in control, ALWAYS.
 
I love the way the plot of the Lion King unfolds because even as Simba walks away from the Kingdom into an unknown land, he finds himself in the wilderness and is lead back to the Kingdom. Simba may have gone away but His home IS in the Kingdom with his Father. Yes, there is bitterness and resentment in his heart that has distorted his view of his Father but his Father just desires him to be home and the issues can be dealt with. When we are lead to the “desert” it is because of our actions and choices but never once has or will God leave our side, He is with us in the desert AND the mountain tops. “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17 ESV).” But where the Gospel from the film differs is in two areas. Simba’s home is in the kingdom of the earth while, our home is not here on this broken and sinful earth. Our Home is in Heaven, where Scripture tells us that, ” And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away (Revelation 21:3-4).” The other area where the Gospel is different from the film is that in the Lion King the issues and lies that Simba has taken up and believed can be dealt with, while, our Father sent His Son and HAS DEALT WITH OUR SIN. Don’t get me wrong, we all have sin and must live a life in which God must break us from sin in our lives but the penalty of our sin was death and we have a Savior, Jesus Christ who stepped in and took our place on that cross giving us eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
 

How is “Greatness” achieved?

Our culture is consistently telling us that we must be the best, that we must make something of our life and do WHATEVER it takes to be the greatest. This idea, being the greatest, has not been a conversation of just the modern times but has been a conversation many have had time after time.  Also, being a first generation college student from a Latino household, I cannot count the number of times that family members have told me, “Mijo, why don’t you become a doctor so you can take care of your tia and tio?” or “Mijo, I can’t wait till you become president and help us Latinos!” If you have relatives those quotes may resonate to you in some degree or just be comical as you read them in your best Hispanic accent.  Some of the disciples had the same discussion we are having today in Luke 22:

A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
(Luke 22:24-27 ESV)

I love my family, I love my culture but attempting to become a person with money, power, and status for them or myself in itself is sinful because there is only One who is The Greatest.  And our motivation for anything we should be motivated by the cross and the joy that we have in the promises of the Gospel. Our ambition should be joy in Christ, not to identify ourselves in things apart from Christ.

When we look at the passage, the first thing I see is that Jesus does not rebuke them for simply wanting to be great, He redirects them in their attitude or motives to pursue being great. In verse 26, he says, “But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the one who serves.” This statement is the epitome of countercultural, in their culture, the oldest had all the rights to the inheritance of the father. The oldest would receive EVERYTHING their father had, while the youngest was left with nothing but lint in his pockets.

Also, leaders were the ones who gave out the orders and had others serve them, we can see this as we watch films about Julius Caesar or “noblemen” of the ancient times as they have their servants who wave their giant leaves over them for air. But Jesus calls us to serve, like He came to serve although He had every right to be served and could make whoever He wanted serve Him but He didn’t do that.  “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:5-7 ESV). If we desire to be great for the sake of Christ, we must give up all of our “rights” for our brothers in sisters in Christ in order that He may increase and we may decrease.

In Destino, we have discussed what would it look like to call Destino a success or what will it take to make Destino a force on campus. I believe the answer is right in our sight, SERVE. We must be willing to serve each other. Willing to serve the non-believers on our campus and willing to take the risk of putting our hearts out there for them to have a chance of seeing the Gospel. We must serve each other by sacrificing comfort and relaxation in our lives as we hope to see new faces in Destino. Matthew 23:12 states, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” The same goes for us as believers in the workplace and/or in any other ministry we serve in, if we desire to be great for the sake of Christ, we first must be willing to give everything up and serve because He came to serve us.

God’s loving and divine favor over His Children

Christmas time can be a difficult period for many people in our families, cities, nation, and the nations. When we look at Mary was a young girl, who had no clue that God has divine plan for her to give birth to the Savior, finding that out may have been a little tough. Having a baby changes things but giving birth to The Messiah is a whole different story. She did not hear this news from her mother or her father, but she heard it from an angel, Gabriel, maybe it is just me but i definitely would have been taken back by the whole scene. Let’s take a look at the story in Luke 1:

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

(Luke 1:26-38 ESV)

First, Gabriel’s greeting to Mary is that she is the Lord’s favored one, and while this may bring joy or emotions of elation to some people, Mary’s immediate response was a distinct fear. Luke quotes her as being “greatly troubled.” Some may have thought, “Why is she troubled? Being in God’s favor is awesome!” Well, yes but sometimes it is more difficult than we think. Being in God’s favor doesn’t mean that everything in life will be jolly and life will be easy, in fact, in doesn’t look like that at all. Being in God’s favor means that we will face persecution. Being in God’s favor means that we will face times where we have no clue of why everything seems to be going wrong. Being in God’s favor is not always easy but it is good and has a purpose far beyond what are narrow minded brains can imagine.

Second, Gabriel continues on to explain to Mary that she will bear the child of God named Jesus, and that He will reign over the house of Jacob forever as well as the fact that His kingdom will NEVER END. These are lofty prophecies Gabriel is speaking about but what must be seen in the Scriptures is Mary’s response in verse 34 and Gabriel’s rebuttal in verse 35. Mary now gets that God’s plan is of importance, she just does not understand how it will happen because biologically it is impossible. Gabriel then tells her that it will not be by anything she does but God will send the Spirit to be her helper and that the Shadow of the Lord will never leave her. And after much assurance, Mary realizes that she can either submit to God’s perfect plan and favor over her life or walk a road that leads to who knows where and also, what seems impossible in man’s eyes is possible with God.

Who knows what would have happened if Mary would have said no to the plan of God. God would still have carried out His will either way but we would not have any remembrance of Mary. And because Mary said yes, some 2,000 years later we are blessed to be celebrating the coming of our King through the virgin Mary.

You may be saying, “that’s cool and all but what does that have to do with me?” Here our some key points:

1. God’s favor over your life may come with difficult circumstances but He has the best possible plan for your life that anyone could imagine (Romans 8:28-29).

2. We celebrate Christmas specifically, as the coming of Jesus but let us take time each day to celebrate Jesus because as Gabriel spoke, “of His Kingdom there will be NO END,” (Luke 1:33).

3. Just like Mary, we can grow fearful of trials in our lives, but He has also given us His Spirit as our helper, comforter, and strength. Let us also not forget that there is no place where God is not present (Isaiah 46:10, Luke 1:35, Luke 24:45-49).

4. Nothing is Impossible WITH God. What seems fruitless, dead, and limited can ultimately be restored by our God. (Gen. 18:14, Psalm 135:6, Matthew 19:26, Luke 1:37).

5. Let us say “Yes” to the promises of God. There will be trials the Lord puts in our path that seem too hard, too easy, and just not for us but there is power in obedience. Mary said yes, and through her obedience, we now have a Savior, who reconciled broken, sinful humanity to the perfect God. (Luke 1:38, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, James 1:25).

Thank you Father for your favor over Mary’s life that brought us Your Son.

“No Worries”

No worries

Walking through life like we got it all together

Actin like we don’t need any kind of direction

Thinkin anything you can do I can do better

But the moment troubles come our way, we… are… frettin’

Realizin that all that talk was our misconception

You see this life is hard, definitely not easy

Especially when you on your lone ranger, doing it solo yelling “YOLO!”

Better watch it bruh, that’s danger

Lookin’ at people like it is them that’s the stranger…but its us

Man wasn’t made to walk this earth on their own

The Father even said, It’s not good for man to be alone

So he gave Adam a companion

To walk and rejoice with, to accompany him in the sovereign dominion

To us, it sounds like a win win

But they gave it all away

The thought that disobedience would lead to them being okay…

Was their misconception

What they thought would be filling, really lead to corruption and starvation

No worries.

But the triune God had a plan

He had story of redemption..waiting…in the palm of his hand

His people cried out, God we want a king!

The problem with that was that the king they wanted,  was not the king they needed

How many times in life have we sought out an answer and it turned into a cancer

You see all throughout the scriptures we find a people searching for a God who is directly ahead

And instead of layin down their life, they lie spiritually dead.

But

No worries.

The Father stepped in

He sent his son, to die on a tree, and set the captives free

Seeking the souls that hunger and were lost

The lives that were too far gone, too deep in sin, too messed up step inside the church

How many people are in that place today, believing they are too far gone and all hope has been tossed

You see that was me. A life that statistically is set out to fail.

Raised with a single mother with no presence of a role model male.

A poor young Latino who feels like there is no one there

Having no clue that I was subject to the Father’s providential care

You see He saw me through the parties, imperfections, and lust

The cross traded me for all my insecurities and all the circumstances that seemed unjust

I had some misconceptions too

It was never about what you do, but what He had done

It wasn’t just my sin He paid for

But He paid for it all

Thank God for the opportunity to repent and answer The Call

No Worries

The Trial of support-raising

I started support raising about a month ago. Support raising is a very trying process, that shows many people (meaning myself) what it means to truly rely on God and the body. I needed a total 0f $4007.30 to be able to be apart of the RBI movement this summer. It was a journey, especially while studying for final exams as well as activities back in College Station (Whoop!). Time was already against me due to the fact that my support training was at a later date than most interns who were on support this summer. I knew that going into this I was going to have to continue to deny myself and my pride to want to do this all on my own, to truly give up to God and allow Him to come through. He did, by the grace of God, during the last two hours of my deadline I received over $1000. Receiving a 100% of my goal for this summer. Thank you all for your prayers and support and for allowing God to move in your heart. By the end of this week, I will have an update on how our first week went!

 

By His Grace,

Daniel Reyna

James 1:27

Hello friends!

This is a blog I created for people to be able to follow me and the RBI program in the East Austin area. I am extremely excited to see what the Lord has in store for this summer as well as the future of the movement in the East Austin area. I am honored to be able to be apart of such a powerful mission in the city I was raised in. I have had the blessing of being raised in East Austin, witnessing first hand what many of these children go through. It is quite humbling to be able to come back and speak into these kids lives, to let them know that there is a way out of the culture that seems to be engraved on many of their hearts. If you are partnering with us, whether financially or in prayer, be encouraged in the fact that we cannot do this without you. Each and every single one of you is apart of what is going on in the East Austin area. This mission, of empowering the Greater East Austin area, is bigger than all of us, only through uniting and abiding in God’s grace will we see lives changed forever. If you have any further questions about what we are doing at RBI, feel free to email me at daniel.reyna14@gmail.com

By His Grace,

Daniel Reyna

James 1:22-27