Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Christmas Journey

" Then 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 bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give 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.' Then Mary said to the angel,' How can this be, since I do not know a man?' And the Angel said to her,' The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you: therefore, also, that Holy one who is to be born will be called the Son of God.'" "For with God nothing will be impossible."- Luke 2:30-35,37
     If you have ever spent anytime in church, you have probably heard this story a few times. But have you ever dove into what was being said in this passage? This is a story about a young girl, estimated to be around 14 years of age, that is called on by God to carry his son. This girl is not married, and has never known a man. It makes you wonder what was going through her head. What will people think of her once this baby begins to grow in her womb? We can imagine that it will not be pleasant thoughts going through their heads. Yet, even though she knows this is going to happen, Mary still commits herself to the Father and allows him to use her in a mighty way. We have been placed on a crazy journey, and God has asked some crazy things of us. We could choose to let the thoughts of the world get in the way, or we can allow God to work through us, and make it all clear for us in the end. What would happen if every time God called someone to do something way out of the ordinary, we don't listen because we are afraid of how the world will judge us. We must realize that God has not called us to be like the world, or even to get approval from the world. We are placed on this earth to give God glory, in spite of the retribution that comes from the outside.
     In the account of the birth of Jesus in the gospel of Matthew, we meet Joseph, a young carpenter who is about to take Mary as his wife. Before they marry, Joseph realizes that Mary is pregnant. Trying to protect Mary, he decides that he should hide her away from people so that they won't be made a mockery. But as he is pondering these things, an angel comes to him in a dream and tells him to not put her away, and he explains that this is a special child sent from God.
     I see Joseph as a "fixer". Someone who sees a problem and thinks with his head of how to turn the situation around for the better. When the angel came to him, he was saying, do not try to change what I have set in motion. Trust that I know what I am doing, and everything will be revealed if you have faith that I will do what I said.
     So Joseph takes Mary as his wife and they begin their faith journey with God. Because they were both faithful in doing what the Lord commanded, Jesus came into the world and fulfilled numerous prophecies spoken about him given thousands of years prior. After Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem, they did not realize that the inns would be full, and they would have to stay in a barn, but they did know that God would protect them wherever they rested their heads that night. God is not asking us to do the impossible, he is merely asking if we trust him enough to do what he says he will do, especially when it seems impossible. God used a teenage girl to bring his Son into the world, just imagine what impossible things he can do with you.

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

*photo credit by:

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Walking Out What You Talk

Job was a man who was blameless and upstanding in the Lord. He was righteous in the eyes of God and he walked in integrity. One day, Satan wanted to see how far his faith would take him. So he went up into heaven and asked God to remove his protection hedge from around Job, to see if Job would curse God for taking everything away from him. So God gave Satan the power to take away all that he had, but he could not lay a finger on Job. It is cool that even when Satan takes everything from Job, God does not let him touch Job. It says in scripture that God had made job very prosperous and wealthy, and he was the father of many children. With the passing of just one day, he lost all of his livestock, all of his crop and every last one of his children. After all this, the Bible says that he did not do any wrong or sin towards God. Again, Satan comes to the throne room and this time, he is granted permission to inflict Job with sickness and disease. Job was plagued with painful boils from his head to his feet, and he had to use a potsherd to scrape himself. His wife, upon seeing his affliction, told him to lose his integrity and to curse God so he may die. Instead of cursing, Job replies in this way," Shall we indeed accept good from God, but not adversity." Again we see that he still did not curse God. Later, we see three of job's friends come and talk with him. At first, they are exactly what he needs. For the first couple days that they are there, they don't say anything, rather they just sit beside him, letting him know they are there for him. Pretty soon, that got real awkward and they began to talk with him of all the reasons he might be in this situation. Maybe there is a sin in his heart he needs to repent of. Was he really as full of integrity as he had thought? Was there still more punishment to come? These came from well meaning people who were trying to help in ways that they know how. When we are walking down a Job walk, people will show up and try to fix things that are not in their structure of fixing. Sometimes they get agitated and wonder why you have not taken their advice. When people try to fix thing with the natural that can only be fixed in the spiritual, it never works out the way it should. Throughout the book of Job, it seems like there are times when he gets frustrated with his friends, and completely dismisses their opinions because he knows that though it may seem crazy, he must still have faith that God knows what he is doing. Well meaning people will speak into your life, and it might not always be what you need to hear, yet they say it because it seems like the logical thing to do. But God does not want us to live by logic, but by faith and trust in Him. The trials that came upon Job was a test of his character and his faith. God knew that he would not falter, but I think this was to show his friends that Job lived out what he preached, so to speak. The journey of life will be full of trials that test us, but these do not only build our faith, but also the faith of those around us who are sitting on the fence when it comes to trusting. Job ends up becoming even more prosperous because he did not accuse God when things went wrong. I am not saying that Job never questioned God, or that he had his doubts. I am saying that even through these, he trusted God would finish what he had started, even though Job did not know how it would all play out.
God knows how things are going to end. Hold fast to what he has done, and what he will do. Even when things looks bleak and grim, there is a light at the end of your tunnel that gets closer to you everyday you walk with integrity in the Father.

Adam Semple- A young man on a mission


Saturday, December 12, 2015

From Ur to the Promised Land

Abram, or more commonly known as Abraham, lived in a Babylonian city called Ur. it was a city filled with pagan religions and wicked abominations. One day, Abram is called by God to leave his family and his past and follow him. So Abram, with his father Terah, his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot, leaves Ur.  His father takes his household and leaves. God had told Abram leave his father;s house to go south toward Canaan, but instead he stayed with his father and ended up going north west, toward Haran. It was not until his father died that they could journey on toward Canaan into God's promise.
This is important. Sometimes in life, there will be people that might give good advice or seem helpful to you, but in the end they just end up distracting you from where God has called you to be, It is only when those people are removed from your life will you be able to move forward with what God had for you. It is important to note that it was not Abram who wanted to leave Ur, but his father Terah. Sometimes the "hurtful" people in your life help for a time until things shift.
Abram is now 75 years old. His father has just passed and he is free to go to Canaan. He still takes with him his wife and nephew, and they journey out of Haran. It is at this time that God calls Abram to leave his father's household and go to Canaan. They find themselves in Egypt after a famine hits the land. Because of his wife's beauty, Abram lies and tells the king that she is her sister to protect his life. Even though his faith wavered a little bit, God still held him in the promise where he said he will make him a great nation, and bless those who bless, and curse those who curse him. Through this, The king and his people are plagued and God informs the king of his blunder and He sends Abram and his crew away with much blessing.
After some time, they get to a place where they can see Canaan and it is revealed to them that this is the promised land. Him and lot separate, and Abram and Sarai go to Bethel to prepare an altar to the Lord.
During this time, His name is changed to Abraham, her name is changed to Sarah, and they have been promised a son. Abraham spends the rest of his life believing that his descendants will inherit the land. But after his son is born, God asks him to do something unthinkable. Abraham is told to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering to the Lord. We are not given any clue that Abraham questioned his faith, but rather he rose up early in the morning and took Isaac his son to be sacrificed. After his son was tied to the altar, and the knife ready to strike, God calls out to him and tells him that because he did not withhold, even his only son, he would be blessed more abundantly than the sand on the seashore.
Have you ever been in a situation where God asked you to sacrifice the promise he gave to you. Did you hesitate and decline, or did you trust that God knew what he was doing and follow through. This was Abraham only son, yet he knew that if God asked this thing of him, there was a reason for it. God wanted to know that he was secure in his faith and would do anything asked of him. In this way, we should journey on this walk called life.
Abraham never got to see his descendants take the land. He had to watch from heaven as his great- grandchildren's children took the land promised to his line all those years ago, yet he is still counted as one of the most faithful dudes in scripture. Sometimes, we must realize that when God promises something for us, it will always be a process and we might not see the end, but God knows what he is doing and in his time, promises will be fulfilled.
Sometimes, you need to be faithful in order for your kids to see your faith comes to fruition.

Adam Semple- A Young Man On A Mission

Photo credit- The Brick Testament

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Not Just A Seed

From the smallest seed to the biggest oak, trees come in all shapes and sizes. Some are as tall as skyscrapers, and others are barely big enough to hid in. No matter the size or the shape, all trees serve a purpose. Whether it is to give us nourishment or air to breathe, trees are not here by accident. God did not drop a seed in the ground unintentionally and it suddenly sprouted into something bigger. He created seeds to grow beyond their original design. Christians are meant to be the same way. My brother has stated that in order for a plant to reproduce, it must have a seed that comes out of it. Without this seed, the plant will eventually become a thing long forgotten and we will no longer have them on the earth. Imagine if every Christian journeyed through life without ever sharing the gospel. There would be no more seeds planted in people's hearts that would grow into men and women of God. What would happen to our world if everyone stayed in his own little bubble, never reaching out to anybody? Christianity would soon become a thing of the past and the kingdom of heaven would become emptier with every passing year. it does not take much to plant a seed in a person's life. It starts by simply nurturing the ground and giving time to a person. Spiritual seeds are not always planted by a scripture message preached on a Sunday morning. In  most cases, these seeds are planted by simple acts of connection, walking out our walk with God in front of others. Sometimes, by seeing how a Christian acts and reacts to situations around them, this shows people the amazing life we get to walk in. They see that though things crash around us, we can still stand strong. Like a tree during a storm, when the winds blow in, unless the roots are firmly planted, the tree comes crashing down. Only when its roots grip deep into the soil does the tree stand firm, not wavering in its position. This is how God wants each of us to be. As we dive deeper into him, we plant our roots in good soil and they grow firmly into the solid rock of the Father. Then when Satan's attacks come against us, we do not sway from our path.
      I have heard it said that from the smallest seeds can produce the largest trees. I say this because you may think you are insignificant to the kingdom of God, yet God wants to use you to become a mighty oak tree. In Psalms 1:3 it says," He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither and whatever he does shall prosper"- nkjv. Lets break down this verse a little. A tree planted by the waters that brings forth fruit. God of course is the rivers of water, and when we are planted close to the father, our tree will bear much good fruit. Whose leaf will not wither and whatever he does will prosper. When we stay planted in the Father, we will not be like a tree that dies in winter, but all through the year, we will be evergreen, forever bearing fruit. Whenever we set out to accomplish something, if our roots are solid in God, we will prosper for his sake.
Plant yourself as close to the waters as you possibly fail, and you will stand strong when life's storms strike around you.

Adam Semple- a young man on a mission from God