Saturday, August 29, 2015

It Is Finished

 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.- John 19:28-30. These were the last things Jesus said on the cross before he died to the flesh. The phrase "It Is Finished" has been recognized as Jesus' final words, but did you know there are 7 phrases that were said by Jesus during his time on the cross?
One of the other widely-known sayings is this, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do". Here Jesus is saying that the people were only following God's plan and purpose for this time in their lives. Jesus understood that in order for him to bring salvation to all, the crowd would have to turn from the good for a time, in order to come into the great for eternity. Even during the worst possible pain he could ever endure, he still wanted to ensure the people were covered by his saving blood.
Next we have the conversation with the criminal. Here, one of the men alongside Jesus realizes who the guy that is beside him really is. In the middle of his own persecution, he acknowledges that Christ is the Messiah, and asks that Jesus simply remembers him when he enters the kingdom. But Jesus goes one step further. Not only does he agree, he promises that right away, the criminal will be allowed access to the kingdom. In this statement, Jesus is making it clear that he came to save all men. Not just the ones who faithfully followed him their whole lives, but also the ones who rejected him throughout their life, yet found their way into his saving grace.
"Woman, Behold your son! Behold, your Mother". Here Jesus is talking to his mother and the Apostle John. He is asking John to watch over his mother since he will no longer be on the earth to care for her. This passage shows us His care for humanity. Jesus is telling us that while we are on this earth, we must care for the needs of our fellow brothers and sisters. The life of a follower of Christ is not one of solidarity or aloneness, but it is a community of believers walking with each other toward one goal, the spreading of God's good news to a world so desperately in need of it.
"Eli, Eli lama sabachthani""- " My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" I imagine through this whole process, this time right here is the hardest, not only for Jesus, but for God the Father as well. At this point, all the weight of the sin of the world is upon the shoulders of Jesus. God is so holy and pure that in the time of his child's greatest suffering, he cannot even look upon his son, for the sin is too much even for God's own eyes. What love. What grace. Jesus fully knows what he has gotten into, yet he still chooses to endure the pain of every sin, from the past, to the present, to the future. Jesus was fully capable of calling down a legion of angels to rescue him off of that cross, but he loves us so much that he went through it all so we could be saved. 
" I Thirst". Even in death, Jesus is still committed to fulfilling the scriptures of the prophets of old. I'm not implying that this was said just to fulfill, I'm just noting that he never turned back from the things said way back when. Some commentators say this statement was made in preparation for his final words on the cross. Here, the soldiers give him a sponge with sour wine that was put on a hyssop and brought it up to his mouth. He took a sip or two, and was ready to give his final words.
"It Is Finished"! Through this passage, Jesus is saying his time in the flesh is done. He has done everything he came to earth to do and it is time to return to the Father. This is also a promise to the children of God. Jesus' death is complete, therefore ending the reign of Death and the Grave. Following this event, Jesus walks into the gates of hell and takes the keys out of the hand of the Devil. Since the beginning of creation, Satan has been fighting a losing battle, and Jesus' crucifixion was only the beginning of his end. 
The last statement of Christ is the thing that we as Christians should proclaim over our own lives. In Luke 23:46, Jesus makes this declaration,"Father, into your hands I commit My spirit". This is what God wants us to say to him after we have accepted him as Lord and Savior of our lives. When we commit our spirit to the Father, we are saying that we trust him to work in our hearts and lives in the ways that will shift us into people God created us to be. When we are fully committed to God, he will keep us and carry us down the path he has set before us. "You will keep us in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever".-Isaiah 26:3

Adam Semple- a young man on a mission from God    

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Caleb Patrick Semple- Always and Forever in our hearts

Today marks the 5th anniversary of a day that will stay in my memories for the rest of my life. On this day in August of 2010, my 12 year old brother passed away in the middle of the night. He had been born with a piece of his esophagus missing and for 12 years, he was constantly in and out of the hospital to try and get it fixed. After 60 something surgeries over the course of his life, in February of 2010, the doctors were finally able to replace the missing piece somehow and for 6 months, he was the healthiest little boy he had ever been. No more feeding tubes, no more hospital visits. If not for his weight, you never would have know anything was wrong. But then our world got turned upside down when on August 23rd, he had a stomach ache so bad him and my dad stayed home from church so he could take it easy. The following day, we went to our homeschool program that we had just started attending the beginning of that month, did some campaign for something and headed home, and all this time Caleb just wasn't feeling well. As we were going to bed, he still wasn't feeling right so he slept on the couch upstairs. Next thing we know, my father rushes into the room in a panic and says that Caleb is not breathing. We called 911 and an ambulance took my little brother away, and that was the last time I saw him alive. My brother and sister and I had gone over to our neighbors house after mom and dad left with the ambulance and by the time we got to the hospital he was already gone. By the end of the week, we had his funeral for the boy who died 12 years too young.

Naturally, we were confused and angry at God for taking him away from us, but then it became clear enough to us that he had suffered on this earth his whole life and know he was completely healed praising God in the heavenly realms, never to suffer again. His cause of death was not related to his esophagus, but rather his intestines had shut down, and there was nothing the doctors could have done. A couple weeks following, my sister had her 5th birthday and a month following that, my little brother was born.

It has been 5 years since that day, and a lot has changed for my family. There have been several moves, my eldest brother got married and I went off to school, but even though life went hard, we will never forget this little 62 pound ball of sunshine that according to doctors never should have lived to see his 2nd birthday that brought so much joy and happiness to this world. Every one who knew Caleb would all agree that even though his pain and hardships, he always had the biggest smile on his face, a smile that could light up a room and everyone inside of it. I love and I miss you Caleb, You will forever be in our hearts and your life will be remember as long as I live. I thank God for everyday you were with us, even though it didn't, nor will it ever feel, long enough. Enjoy singing with the angels to the great God, who loves us and always has a plan even when we don't see what it is yet.

Caleb Patrick Semple- April 10, 1998-August 24, 2010
Always and Forever in our hearts

Adam Semple- a young man waiting on God's plan

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Victory over Defeat

In this day and age, Satan is on a mission to completely discourage the youth of our generation. The reason for this, is that in the final days, The word of God says that he will pour out his spirit on all flesh. The youth will be the ones who see visions and prophecy. Satan is not all knowing or all powerful in anyway, yet he knows that something is brewing in the heavens, and he is shaking in his boots. So he is doing everything he can do to discourage and distract us from staying on the path God has laid out before us. One of his tricks that he uses is the spirit of defeat. When something does not go exactly as we had planned or hoped, he holds it over our heads and declares to us that we must have messed up big time and there is no hope for us. For a large majority of us, myself included, these words can take a huge toll on our lives. We begin to think back to everything leading up to that point and wonder if we did something wrong. Satan knows that once we feel we are no longer good enough to follow down God's plan, it will be so much easier for stray from the path and fall into a spiritual rut that can be hard to get out of. During these times, we have to remember that God has already defeated the devil, and he is simply fighting a losing battle, trying to bring down with him as many people as possible. Recently, I have been in this state of defeat. A couple weeks back, I was preparing to go into the next stage of my walk with God. I was excited and ready, but it was not where God planned for me to be in this season of life. I could not understand why God shut the door on me right at the last minute, and I had this sense that I had messed up. Maybe I had not being praying hard enough or didn't believe he would come through for me as he has done in the past. But over the past few weeks, God has been dealing with me, assuring me that he has something better for me, and I can't spiritually move forward if I continue to dwell on the past. The other day, there was a guest speaker at our youth service. After the service, a couple of the leaders prayed over me and they all prayed the same basic prayer. They all assured me that those I may not see what God is doing at this moment, I need no longer to carry around this spirit of defeat that has tied me down for too long. Just because things did not turn out as expected, it was not due to a mess up or a wrong step, it was just a God-shift of my focus from one path to another. Right now, I still don't know where that path will lead me, but I am not going to continue to declare that I am not good enough or that I will always stay in this rut. God has not spoken promises over me for me to just lay in in trench complaining. But rather he has placed those things in me to give me the strength to stand up and spiritually climb the mountain that is before me. Satan does everything he knows to do to keep us in the valley, because he knows that once we hit the mountain peak, that is where change takes place, and he no longer has control over the situation, (especially since he never had it in the first place). From this moment on, I am deciding that I will declare victory over my life rather than defeat. My king has already won, and there is nothing that the devil can do to stop him. I choose to walk down God's path for me, rather than wallow in my our self-pity. For that will only stop the spiritual growth trying to take place in my life and I will never get to the place God wants me to be. 
"No, in all these things, we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through him who loved us".- Romans 8:37. Let us never forget that as we break away from the spirit of defeat and walk into the spirit of triumphant victory.

Adam Semple- a young man on a mission from God    

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pull back, and Release

Do you ever get the feeling that you are as far away from your destiny as you can possible be? Do you feel stretched beyond comfort following God's path? In times like these, we must remember for an arrow to be launched, it must first be pulled back in order for it move forward. God has placed a target destination in our hearts. For some of us, this may be a short range target, and for others, it might be a long term commitment. But no matter how far our future is from our present, all of our lives require a little stretching and pulling back before God sends us off. There are times when this stretching is going to hurt, whether financially, physically, mentally or even spiritually. Imagine for a moment that you are an arrow in God's quiver. If arrows could think, they might not realize that nothing changes as long as they stay in the quiver. It is only when they are pulled out and stretch back that they can be fired toward their goal. I would imagine that it is a little uncomfortable for the arrow when he is put into bow and it seems that he is further back then he was prior, but then God lines him up with the bullseye, makes sure to account for changes in wind, and then, he releases the bow. This moment must be exhilarating for the arrow. It is flying through the air with totally freedom, and then suddenly, BAM, it goes head first right into its mark. After all the uncomfortable feelings surging through its mind, it has finally hits dead on into the future God had in mind for it all along. So when you are being stretched on all sides, and your destiny seems to get smaller and smaller, imagine yourself as the arrow, hold on tight, and get ready to brace for impact. For your quick release is coming suddenly and it is time to fly. Trust that the great archer has already lined you up, and he will get you right where you need to be, right when you need to be there.

Adam Semple- a young man on a mission from God


Saturday, August 15, 2015

From stumbling blocks to stepping stones

"Oh No"
"Oh No"
The story of David and Goliath is one of the most popular stories told from the Old testament and even the whole Bible itself. It describes a boy, one who is forgotten by his father, mocked by his brothers and in a position that is low and looked down upon. But this is no ordinary boy. This guy has been anointed king over Israel, and has been commissioned to calm the spirit of Saul by playing the harp in his presence. Then we get to chapter 17 in the book of 1 Samuel. The Israelite army is in the Valley of Elah, and the Philistine army is at Socah in Ephes-Dammim. Goliath, the Philistine champion comes out into the valley between the two camps and challenges the Israelites to a one- on-one duel, with the winner of the duel being the victorious army. Because Goliath was over 9 feet tall, the army of Israel was terrified and ran and hid for 40 days while Goliath continued to taunt and defy God. Then along comes small little David. He has been sent by his Father to bring food to the general and check the war. While he is there, Goliath comes out and begins his daily taunting, and David is not happy with what he hears. So he goes to the king and tells him that he will fight the giant and he will do it in the name of the Lord God. So David goes out to the river, gathers 5 smooth stones, and runs to the battle line to confront Goliath. He then declares to Goliath that though "you come at me with a sword, a spear and a javelin, I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of the Israel, whom you have defied. This day, the Lord will deliver you into my hand and I will strike you down and cut off your head."(1 Samuel 17:45-46) This is where the story gets cool. David pulls a stone out of his pouch, takes his slingshot and swings the stone and it makes contact with Goliath's head and sinks into his skull. Goliath then falls face first onto the ground. David then takes Goliath's sword and cuts off his head. 

It is easy to see why this story is so well known. A boy who was looked down upon is now the greatest soldier of all time, all because he wasn't afraid of the giants that rose up in his ways. For many people, giants distract us from the path that God has put before us. A perfect example of this is the story of the Israelites in the desert after their freeing from Egyptian slavery. God had a land waiting and ready for them to take, but because of the giants that resided in the land, the people got scared. Because they did not trust God to fight their battles for them, they had to spend 40 years in a desert eating nothing but manna and quail. These giants became a stumbling block for the people and they allowed them to become so. A stumbling block is anything that gets in your way that stops you from moving forward in the direction God has set aside for you. We need to turn these stumbling blocks into stepping stones as David did with Goliath. Before he defeated the giant, he was already promised the kingdom of Israel, but that didn't stop him. He took one step further and did what he could to protect his people. He knew that God could handle the giant, he was just waiting for someone to step up and take action. God was not hoping that David would hit the mark, David knew that God would guide the stone to where it needed to go. This is how we should act when walking through our journey. God will take care of the details, all we need to do is stay focused on knowing God will come through. Once we realize this, we must declare to the giant that he will be defeated, not by our hand, but by the Lord God Almighty. It is time to take the things that the giant has used to distract us and throw them back right back in their face. Be like David, declare that though Goliath has brought all these things with him to scare you, God is still all powerful and fully capable of taking out any giant that comes our way. 

It is time to take out your stones and start swinging. 

Adam Semple- a young man on a mission from God

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Do you trust He will get you through?

In life, it can be really easy to say that we trust God with everything. But how often do we live out our words and actually trust him? Anyone can say they trust God, but do we really? The English word for trust is abstract. We cannot sense it through our five senses, it is merely a feeling. But if we look at the Hebrew translation of the word, we see a more concrete action by which we use one or more of the senses.1 Here are a few translations from the Hebrew. Chasah- to lean on something. Betach- to cling to something. Yachal-to hope for. This word is more than just a hope. This is walking through life not hoping something will happen, but knowing something will happen and living accordingly. This type of trust is where I want to be in this journey called life. Sometimes we use trust as a crutch to put our weight on, We find example of this in Psalms 18:2, The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, in whom I trust. When we see God as our rock, it is easy to simply lean on him. But this should only be a starting point. This level of trust might be where we are at the beginning of our walk, but we should only continue to grow as we grow with God. I like how describes the next level of trust found in the word Betach. This form of trust is to cling to. The website explains this as a melon attached to the vine. The melon is big and heavy, yet somehow the vine is still strong enough to support it as long as it takes for it to fully grow. This illustrates that no matter how big our problems become, the vine is still capable of holding onto them. John 15:5 describes God as the vine and we are the branches. When we stay attached to the vine, we will bear much fruit. In the same way we bear fruit, we also grow bigger, more fuller fruit, fruit that satisfies a bigger desire to stay with the Father. Finally we get to the third translation of trust found in the word Yachal. In this spiritual strength, we walk in such a high trust that we know God will come through for us in ways only he can. This type of trust can be found in Psalms 42. god is trying to stress this point into us so much, the same verse is in this chapter not once, but twice. Verses 5 and 11 read as this," Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God: For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God". I believe this is where god wants us to be in our walk. To live in such a way that we do not hope out of fear that God will move, but rather walking with a security knowing that God will come through. When we walk in this trust, we begin to see God move in powerful ways.

These past couple of weeks has been challenging for my faith. I have had to grow my trust and faith in the things that God has said. And I will be the first to admit that it is not easy giving everything to God when my flesh wants to run the show. It is in these times that God wants us to trust him fully. He doesn't want us on the fence or only halfway committed. He wants us to be fully hot or fully cold, for if we are lukewarm, he will spit us out. I know for me, that I don't want to be spit out of God's strength. We have to realize that if trusting was easy, it would not grow us in our faith. Trust would just be another thing to throw around and we would really have no need for it. Without out trust, we would rely too much on ourselves and would not bother giving anything to God.

"This will be a week that I change your sheets! Don't try to rest the same way you've rested in the past, for I AM remaking your bed to rest in. Know that I AM causing your house to be reordered and redirecting your steps. And because your bed is being made, stay focused and up with Me, until the breakthrough is seen in your life."- Chuck Pierce, Glory of Zion Ministries

This might not seem like anything to some of you, but this really stretches me. I may not know what is coming, or what God is going to do, but in this small passage, he is saying stay focused. Keep your trust in the Father and he will come through. In ways only he can, doing things only he can do. God knows what he is doing, and how he is going to bring it about. He is simply asking us to trust him with the details and let him take care of the rest. With Man, nothing is possible, but with God, everything is possible. Trust that if he has brought you to it, He WILL bring you through it.

Adam Semple- a young man on a mission from God.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Don't walk in Complacency, Walk in Contending

It is easy to see that God is in the testing business. Because of this thing called freewill, he wants to know that his children truly trust him in everything and with everything. One of the big things he asks us to trust him with is the financial matter of our lives. Whether it is trying to stay on top of bills each month, or increasing the tithes and offerings you give, money is just one of the things that we must learn how to trust God with when it comes to our walk with him. The last few months, I have been raising support for a school of missions and evangelism called Missio Dei. Last year was my first year with the school, and all the money came in with plenty of time before the year began. This year, it just wasn't coming like I had hoped. Long story short, I needed half my tuition to move in, and I just didn't have it. I have now been given a small window to raise what I need, but I have had to come to a point where I give it all to God and trust him to take care of the every detail. But trusting on a time limit is hard. It is my natural tendency to worry especially when I am pressed for time. So when God's timing does not fit with my timing, it can get frustrating.

It is in these times that we must learn to give it to God and contend with him. To contend means to assert or maintain a certain position. So when someone says they are contending with God, they are holding onto the foundation that the Father has laid out for them. So in this season, it is time to do some contending.

It is in the toughest areas of our life that we must hold onto the promises that God has placed in our lives, both spoken by an individual and the ones that have been dropped in one's spirit directly by the Father. Sometimes it is through the trials that God stretches our faith and test in how much we fully put our trust in Him and his word. During these times, we can not let the things around us get in the way of what God has spoken to us. During times of panic and distress, Satan will try to throw everything he has at you to stray from the course that God has placed you on. But you what to know what is so cool? Satan has nothing stored in his arsenal that can stop God from doing what needs to be done. He is not all powerful, he cant be in two places at once, and he can not see the big picture. he can only see what is laid out before you in the now, and when he sees something he doesn't like, he gets scared. At these point, he will do everything he knows to do to make sure you do not stay on the path. These are the times that we must stand firm in the things and promises spoken over us and declare them back at the devil, letting him fully know that he has no hold over our future and when God wants to do something, he will.

Life is never going to be easy. God never promises that it will. It fact, at times it will become very challenging. God wants to know that we are with him no matter what. Sometimes, that requires a little testing of our faith. So during these times, try to count yourself lucky that you are suffering for the sake of Christ.(James 1:2). Sometimes, God needs to stretch you out of where you are in order to move you into the place he has prepared for you. If this means that I need to get uncomfortable in order to grow, then I am willing to go into those places. I don't want to stay in the same place in my faith forever, but rather I want God to prepare me for whatever is coming next.

Let us not get complacent in our faith, instead let us contend for what is to come.

Adam Semple- a young man on a mission from God