Don’t Ever Give Up

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Errick Springfield
John F. Kennedy once said, “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.” Errick Springfield personified this statement. He was known in school for both his physical and mental strength, but later in life, he would be known for his spiritual strength as endured 3 years battling a very aggressive stage IV cancer which metastasized to other areas of his body. Despite his athletic prowess, Errick’s ultimate legacy will be how he walked out the final days of his life and despite the numerous surgeries and treatments which would have killed most people; his faith and trust in the Lord only grew stronger.

This loss of such a great man has really impacted me and inspired me because we are the same age; we are both husbands and fathers and despite the horrible things I have had to walk through in recent years, none of them compare to what this brave man of God battled through. Near the end, his only sadness was leaving his wife, his 2 year old son and all his family and friends behind.

I was so encouraged to see how Errick and Errick  & Laurie
his wife chose to live their lives. When trials present themselves, you can either cling to God or you can run, but as they clung tightly to God’s promises, He gave them comfort and peace which transcended all understanding. When others would quickly have quit and even as this cancer robbed him of his future here on earth, he never gave up on God, his family or his friends. Errick finished the race strong and he persevered all the way to the end! The way he lived his life should be the standard upon the way we live ours. He didn’t live each day as though it was his last; he lived each day as though it was the last of the people he came in contact with. When you met Errick, you knew there was something different about him and that was the love of Christ in him.

Errick allowed God to do so much not only in him, but through him! If you knew Errick or came in contact with him, the light and compassion of Christ would shine through him so brightly it would nearly blind you. His heart for his family inspires me to be a better husband and father and his heart for the Lord inspires me to pick up his torch and continue what he started. I pray God watches over Errick’s family and I hope one day in the future I will have the opportunity to tell Errick’s son what an awesome man of God his daddy was and what he meant in my life. We will miss you tremendously Errick and I am so proud to have called you my friend.
http://www.ErrickSpringfieldDonations.webs.com

My Life, His Will

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105 (NIV)Your Word is a lamp

The sin in each of our lives is a virus that can only be cured by Jesus sin is a virusand once He cleanses us and redeems us, it’s our duty to help others walking through similar trials and circumstances. We were all damaged and broken at some point, but the moment we accepted Christ into our life, He restored us. The problem arises when we forget where God brought us from and the sacrifice Jesus made in order for us to experience restoration and wholeness.

The least we can do is tell others the amazing things God has done in our life. Tell others about Jesus

I understand this can be scary and people are worried about being politically correct, but for most of us, including myself, we are often embarrassed of the things in our past so we put them on the shelf or in the closet never to be spoken of again. The problem with doing this is we also hide Jesus when we do these things; instead, we should make strides to be transparent while telling others it was the mercy, grace, and love of Christ that got you through the mistakes in your past.

I am so thankful for where the Lord has brought me. It was Him who reached down into the pit of sin I had made for myself, it was Him who opened His arms and embraced me with love even though I turned my back on Him time after time, and it was Him who set my feet upon the rock and put a new song in my mouth full of thanksgiving and praise.Jesus held me up

God chooses not to remember our sin when we confess them to Him and I am so thankful for that, but sometimes I think people need a reminder and reality check of what God has done in their life so we stay humble and keep God’s will the number one priority in our life.

Anything we place before God is an idol and as a people, if we are anything it’s busy. We have filled every second of our days with something and whatever is left over is generally what God gets. This is dangerous territory because where our time, talents, and treasures are, so also will be our heart.

The great thing about the Lord is His power is made perfect in our weakness and for me there is no greater feeling than knowing I am living according to His will. When we do, whatever challenge or trial that may arise, He has already equipped us with whatever we need to walk through them.

The key is looking to God daily to fill us up because without Him, we are nothing, but with Him, we can change the world by pointing others to Christ and by staking ourselves next to them as they walk through their own trials.

Becoming a Christian is just step one; step two is living our lives modeled after Jesus.Live and Love Like Jesus

The fuller we are of Christ, the more His love and light will shine through us into the lives of those around us. They will want what we have, but this only happens if we stay connected to the vine, the One whose living water will never let us thirst again. Stay connected to the WordAsk and you will find Him, knock and the door will be opened unto you. Set aside time for God and it will be the best investment you will ever make. Our time here is so precious and when my time is done, I want to hear the Father say, “Well done good and faithful servant in whom I am well pleased.”

Fear & Trust

Any second they will be taking me back for surgery to repair my spine…posterior-lumbar-interbody-fusion-surgery1

“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 (NIV)

God’s love for us is the strongest power in existence and nothing can separate us from it; my greatest strength comes from knowing that! The weeks and days leading up to this surgery have sent my mind into overdrive, sometimes causing my peace to escape my grasp.

To overcome my fear, there came a point where I had to trust God enough to take care of any problem I might face.trust-god

God is the ultimate Shepherd and He protects His flock. Nothing’s impossible for Him and when we bring our physical, spiritual and emotional needs before God, He hears our cries and His power is made perfect in our weakness.
good_shepherd

When we stay focused on God, peace surrounds every step we take, but when we allow life to take our eyes off of Jesus, we open ourselves to attack. Things like depression, transitions, and loss begin to permeate our lives. Next, our anxiety, stress, and thoughts over money, time, work and the countless other things we must manage begin to manage us until they bring us to our knees.

In this life, we are bound to have trouble, but Christ has already overcome the world and He only sends the toughest battles to His strongest soldiers.
fight or give up

I thought my battle would only be a chapter of my life, but it has turned into a book; one that is full of miracles and endless stories of God’s grace and mercy. When God is for us, there is nothing that can ever stand against us.

Speak these words to the next adversary that tries to rob your peace!

Jesus Gave His All

As the needle pierced my spine, the surgeon and his team rushed to sedate me…

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

Lying on the surgery table undergoing a procedure called a discogram; I had no idea what I was in for. The point of this procedure was to isolate the cause of my severe back and leg pain. One year ago, I was hit by a speeding truck while riding my bicycle, but the pain of the accident paled in comparison to what I was now experiencing as a needle longer than my arm was plunged into my back. As the dye was released into my disc, the agony I experienced caused one of the nurses who had just started to break down in tears watching me scream in pain.
Surgery Room

In no way am I comparing myself to Jesus or the suffering He endured on the cross for our sins, because as I had a 22 gauge needle inside me, He had a spear thrust into His side; He had a crown of thorns driven into His head and He endured 39 lashes that ripped the flesh from His body. It was for our sins that Christ endured this suffering and ultimately sacrificed His life so we could be made whole.

By the stripes that were laid upon His back, we have healing!

jesus-on-cross

By the blood Jesus shed, we receive atonement for our sin!

Take a moment right now and thank Him for the sacrifice He made. Realize what He did at Calvary was the ultimate expression of His love for us. I thank God my healing is on its way and I praise Him in advance for what He is going to do. If you have a need in your life whether it’s physical or other; just know the price Jesus paid on the cross will more than cover any cost.

My Daughter, My Miracle

1 year birthday
A year ago today was one of the happiest days of my life as I witnessed the birth of my daughter. At the time, I had no clue how much my life was going to change. Becoming a father has already provided some of the highest and lowest times of my life, but if given the chance to do it all over again, I would gladly choose to do so!
I can still remember each moment, as if it was happening right before my eyes. I can still sense the mood in the room changing as my little girl was rushed to the NICU. As days turned into weeks and weeks into months, watching people arrive at the hospital, give birth and then go home with their newborns was very hard to watch and when we had to leave the hospital without our little angel, it was even harder. No parent should ever have to leave the hospital without their child. There was such a feeling of distance between us; add to that our fear, anxiousness, nervousness and you had an emotional hot mess. It was so hard to be thankful when all I was doing was worrying. People would ask how we were doing and we would say fine, but all that really meant was we were freaked out, insecure, neurotic and emotional. It was only when I began to rely on God solely that I began to rise above my circumstances despite them. I would claim Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply all my needs” because being anxious accomplishes nothing; instead we are to be in prayer about everything.
When we bring our needs before the Lord, the God of comfort and the God who provides, He will give us peace that transcends all understanding and He will make a way where there is no way. Living with extreme pain this last year, due to a vehicle accident that broke my back, I have been a prisoner of pain. Finally though, God has brought the surgeon into my path that will bring God the glory in healing me. I will finally be able to hold my little girl again without pain coursing through my body. Walking through these seasons full of bittersweet blessings, sometimes my human nature caused me to try and think my way out of my problems, instead of relying on God solely, as I did one year ago when He healed my sweet daughter. God is with us always, but when we constantly dwell on our problems; our peace can elude us as we replay our circumstances over and over again in our minds. I can still remember as new parents, wanting to hold and nurture Sydney; instead we were subjecting her to spinal taps and other painful tests. Having her in the NICU was not part of the dream I had envisioned, but I still trusted God. There were days we had no tears left to cry, but as long as I stayed focused on God who is mighty to save, I kept it together, but when I didn’t, my sadness turned into panic, anxiety, and fear.
The longer we were in the NICU, the more I picked up on subtle things I had not previously noticed. Obviously, one of the first things we could tell was the sex of other people’s babies based on if the parent’s bracelets were pink or blue. Also, if they had multiple ID bracelets, it meant they had twins or triplets. As each day passed, my bracelet became so worn you could barely read Sydney’s name or birthday. One of the saddest things I saw during our time there was a mother who had two bracelets one day and the next day I saw her, she only had one. I later found out that one of her babies had passed away during the night. No matter how worn my bracelet got or how beat down I felt, I remember never wanting to take my bracelet off.
I can remember how weak I would feel going back and forth to the hospital and it reminded me of the story in Matthew 14:30 when Peter got out of the boat to walk on water. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he was able to walk on water, but as soon as he took his eyes off of Jesus and began to look around, he began to sink. The same is true with the problems we face; if we stay focused on God, He will sustain us, but when we look to our own ways, we are sure to sink. Joel Osteen wrote, “In the natural realm we exchange money for the things we want and need, but in the spiritual realm, faith is what we exchange.” You see, our faith pleases God and it opens doors that no man can, especially when we are walking through the storm of the century. When we obey the word of God and believe His promises are true, we strengthen our faith and as it grows, God is able to do things in and through us we never could imagine. Looking back over this last year, one thing is abundantly clear: God loves us and He wants the best for us, even if that means we have to walk through painful seasons. As long as we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and trust His plan, it doesn’t matter what the world tries to throw at us. I encourage you to stop looking to the world for answers and start looking to the Great I Am, the One who made the heavens and the earth. In Him you will find peace and you will know rest as He comforts you in His outstretched arms. He will never give us more than we can handle and He will give us just enough strength, mercy and grace to make it through each new day.

What Now?

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I’ve heard that as Christians, our life can be best described like a rose: at the end is something beautiful, but along the way it can be full of thorns.  This last week for me has been a considerable thorn as I fought a severe infection and am just now beginning to regain my strength.  Being sick for this amount of time really got me thinking about rising up and overcoming adversity.  For many of us, we are stuck in a state that God did not intend for us to stay in, one in which we never move forward.  We may be one step from victory, but we are paralyzed by our diagnosis.

We have all received news of what we have or what’s wrong with us coupled with instructions on what to do and not to do, but getting our diagnosis is just the first step.  As a believer in Christ, there is something in us that is so much bigger than us, but many of us can’t understand why we do the things we do.  It’s like the apostle Paul said, “I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do.”  As a follower of Christ, our ultimate diagnosis comes from Him alone.  He is Jehovah Rophe, our divine healer and it was through His suffering that He purchased for us the Spirit and showed us an ultimate expression of His love.  Christ was the atonement for our sins; He was pierced through our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, and by the stripes that were laid across His back we are healed.

It is only when Christ remains the focal point of our life that when we receive news that crushes us or when we have been besieged from all sides and are completely worn down that we still know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God will neither leave nor forsake us and that He is with us always.  Despite our diagnosis and through the power of the Holy Spirit in us, we can rise above any oppression.  If there is a mountain in our way, He will either move that mountain or He will give us wings to soar high above it.  It is all a matter of His will and this is an important reality check.  That mountain might be exactly where it is supposed to be in order to change us and that mountain might have to be moved one boulder at a time.  This might be a hard pill to swallow for many, but Jesus never told us life was going to be easy; in fact, He told us it was going to be hard and it is by walking through life’s challenges and trials that we are transformed into His image.

What we must do in the midst of whatever is going on is have faith in His plan and wait upon the Lord, because when we do, He will give us new strength.  Bad things happen to good people, but when the Lord is by our side, when we run, we will not get tired, and when we walk with Him, we will not grow weary.  The more the world and life rise up against us and the more our adversity seems to weigh us down and burden us, the more God will renew us and give us a new song of praise to sing as He pours out new life and hope into us.  Trust takes time, but when we can look beyond our circumstance and put our faith in God, He will give us wings to soar like the eagles.  To God be the glory!