Not Disqualified

We have all made mistakes and poor choices in life. Sometimes those mistakes and choices can haunt us. We can carry the shame of those mistakes and choices for years. Can anyone relate? Is anyone still haunted by those past mistakes and choices?

Sometimes those past mistakes and choices make us feel like second class citizens. We feel like damaged goods. I am hear to tell you that God still loves us in spite of those past decisions. Let me encourage you to stop living in the shame of your past.  Those past choices might have knocked you down, but you do not have to stay down. Remember you are a child of God’s. He sent his only son Jesus down from Heaven to wash away all those past mistakes. God has a wonderful plan for each of us. We are more than conquerors. What we did in the past, is not who we are today.  God can use those past mistakes to help us become the person he created us to be. Those past choices do not disqualify any of us from experiencing the love of God and the amazing plans he has for each of us. Today, release all that guilt and shame and start living in the victory of Jesus. ~OC

 

Which Thief Will You Be?

In Luke 23:39-43 of the Bible, the scriptures discuss two thieves hanging next to Jesus on the day of His crucifixion. They were both guilty of their crimes, but they both took totally different approaches to their encounter with Jesus. Jesus who was innocent of all charges, but was taking on all of our sins.

We read in Luke 23:39, where one of the thieves looks at Jesus and mocks him by saying, “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us! This man who was guilty of his crimes, approached Jesus with contempt and doubt. How many times have we done that in our own lives? How many times have we challenged Jesus to prove himself for our benefit? Yet, Jesus never becomes angry. He never retaliates. Jesus just loves. He continues to show patience.

In Luke 23:40, we see the second thief takes a totally different approach to his encounter with Jesus. This thief is just as guilty as the first thief. Yet, he humbled himself before the Lord of Lords. The second thief rebukes the first thief saying, “Don’t you fear God, he said, since you are under the same sentence? We are being punished justly for our crimes. Getting what we deserve. But this man (Jesus) has done nothing wrong.” Then we read in Luke 23:42, the second thief turns to Jesus and says, “Jesus, remember me when you come into you kingdom.” This man could have been like the first thief and mocked Jesus. But he realized who Jesus truly was in that moment. We do not know a lot about this thief, but we know he admitted to his poor choices in life. In that moment this thief knew he needed Jesus. This man probably didn’t have all the scriptures memorized. He probably didn’t know any of the Christianize. He just came to Jesus warts and all. Jesus responds to this thief with the following words in Luke 23:43, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Wow! This verse wrecks me every time I read it.

These two thieves had the same opportunity to come to Jesus. One was more concerned about being saved from his current situation, while the other was more concerned about being with Jesus for eternity. Jesus gives each of us the same opportunities. In Luke 23, Jesus gives us a beautiful picture of the gospel. A true depiction of love and forgiveness.

We are all like the two thieves in Luke 23. We have all sinned. We have all made poor decisions in life. The great thing is, just like the two thieves in Luke 23, Jesus gives each of us the opportunity to come to Him. So, we have a choice to make. Which thief will we choose to be? ~OC

Love Over Hate

Hate can be easy. Hating someone or something, means you don’t have to learn about what you hate. You don’t worry about finding the truth. Hating is an excuse not to deal with your feelings. Also hate is easy to find. Just turn on the news. Turn on your computer or phone. Go outside. Take a look at our so called political leaders. There is enough hate to go around. But I believe hate is also tiring. Lonely. Have you ever watched a racist on tv? They all look mad, tired and lonely. Why would anyone choose to hate? It definitely does not look healthy.

Love can be hard. It takes time. It takes the choice to actually listen to other opinions. Not to close down when someone challenges your beliefs. Love means you have to be willing to forgive others. Even when your right. Love means that sometimes people will take advantage of you. Your heart might get broken. More than once. Why would anyone choose love?

Even though love can be hard, it is always the right choice. Love brings out the best in people. Love allows strangers to speak up for each other. Love allows us to look past our differences. Love challenges us to be the best version of ourselves. Love forces us out of our comfort zones. People who choose love are full of life. Love doesn’t keep score.

I wish, when we opened up the newspaper or turned on the news, the first stories that greeted us would be full of love. When we scrolled down social media, we would smile/laugh more than we would cringe. That would be amazing. Not sure that’s going to happen anytime soon, but this blessed overcomer is always going to choose love. How about you? ~OC

Today I Choose

When your dealing with multiple life threatening health issues, each day brings different challenges. Some days those challenges can seem overwhelming. What’s awesome, is each day I am able to choose how I deal with those challenges.

When my crazy beautiful health journey started over 17 years ago, I made the choice to embrace my challenges and really live life. That is not always easy. My body is really not my own anymore. Most of the time my body feels foreign to me. But even in those tough moments, I still get to choose how I deal with this new reality. Do I allow my challenges to consume me or do I choose to overcome those challenges?

If you have followed my story at all, you know the answer to that question. I have made the choice to truly live. Even though it would be easier to sit around and take it easy, I choose to take trips with my beautiful bride and make amazing memories. I choose to use my story to encourage others dealing with their own crazy beautiful journey. Heck, I even chose to write a book. I choose to live a positive life.

I believe my positive outlook on life, has gotten me through some of my toughest days. I believe my days as a long-distance runner, has given me the mental strength to deal with the health struggles I deal with on a daily basis. I know my faith has helped guide me through this crazy beautiful journey. Because I know this journey is only temporary.

Each morning, we choose how we life today. Here are some choices I make daily.

Today, I choose to be a Warrior.

Today, I choose to be an Overcomer.

Today, I choose to Thrive.

Today, I choose to Live. ~OC

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