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You Still Lack One Thing!

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This is what Jesus tells the rich young ruler in Luke 18. “You still lack one thing.” The rich young ruler was pious. In other words, he was religious, self righteous and self seeking. The rich young ruler comes to Jesus seeking an answer. He wants to know how he can inherit eternal life. The answer Jesus gives him, I believe the young ruler was not expecting or hoping to receive.

How often do you find yourself coming to Jesus, praying, asking Him to answer your requests, hoping to receive the answer you want to hear?

Jesus goes on to say to the rich young ruler in verse 20: “You know the commandments. Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your mother and father.” After Jesus tells this to the young man, how does he respond? He tells Jesus, I have observed these commandments from my youth. He’s basically telling Jesus, he knows the law, he knows the commandments, he knows how to follow after God. Even in the young man’s pride, in his piousness, in his response and in his life something still was missing. Jesus says in verse 22: “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

In verse 23 we see the young man’s response to what Jesus said in verse 22. The rich young ruler became very sorrowful because he was rich. He didn’t want to give up his wealth and possessions. For the rich young ruler this could mean for him he would have to walk away from authority, from the spotlight, from an elite group of people and he would have to turn to a low and meek position in life. He didn’t take Jesus upon his words. Instead he walks away in his sorrow choosing to follow what he knows. He chooses to stay on his own path.

What did the young man lack?

The rich young ruler lacked giving up all to follow Jesus. Jesus called him to lay down his life and to make a sacrifice for an eternal reward. Wealth, riches and the glory that is received while on earth does not compare or come close to what’s in Heaven. If only the rich young ruler could have seen that. If only he could have recognize that Jesus was calling his heart to come and be positioned and sold out for Him. It wasn’t a money issue for this young man, it was a heart issue.

For the rich young ruler his heart was stuck on his riches. What is your heart stuck on?

Here are some questions for you to think about:

Where do you find your heart positioned today?

What is the one thing lacking in your life that you need to hand over to God?

Will you be like the rich young ruler and walk away sad when God is asking you to follow Him?

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Don’t Wake The Demons

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I am reminded this morning of how tempting it is to want to go back to something; To go back to a place we have no business going back to. Here is what I mean… As we pursue change, as we pursue to overcome, let go and dump our baggage, there always seems to come times where temptation seem to hit us the hardest. You know, you’ve been working hard at not looking back, you’ve been working hard at not thinking about old habits, people you’ve let go and then all of a sudden you have a moment. A moment where you cannot stop looking back. A moment where the past looks better than your present. A moment where you are questioning whether or not you are making the right decisions. Journey with me if you will.

We all have demons we have stored away and never plan on inviting back into our lives. If the word demons seem to freak you out, let me put it this way: We all have baggage, problems, and old habits from our past. For some odd reason, there are things and maybe people in our life that remind us of the bad memories and moments from our past. I believe you and I can agree, life would be much easier if we never had to reface our past but this we know is not the reality you and I face. Here’s a thought about our past:

Our past remains eager at trying to find a place in our present so that it can try to place its stamp on our future.

I am reminded of a story. In Matthew 12:43-45, Jesus is talking about an evil spirit leaving a person. I want to point out verse 43: “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. Then it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from. So when the evil spirit returned, he found the person’s house (spirit) empty. So the evil spirit returned with seven more evil spirits stronger than the first evil spirit the man had. The Bible says, “this person is worse than he was before the evil spirit left.” You may be thinking why did I bring this Scripture reference up? Here’s why: When we let go of something, when we fight to overcome, we have to replace our old with something new. We have to replace our bad with something good. We have to continue to fill our spirit up with the One Who delivered us from our demons.

This person in Matthew 12 began living as if he would never be tempted again. As if all of his problems were taking care of for the rest of his life. Listen! You and I will be tempted again and again and again with the same thing(s) we’ve battled for years to overcome. We have to be on guard and ready to recognize the demon(s) trying to creep into our life. Imagine if the man in Matthew 12 recognized the evil spirit, imagine if he continued to fill his spirit with strength, courage, grace and God. We don’t know how his life turned out but I can imagine with seven more evil spirits stronger than the first evil spirit, his life probably didn’t end too well.

My friend, may we not awaken the demons we’ve fought so hard to get rid of. And may we not be naive in our thinking that our demons will not try to return to the place it once lived.

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Slow Down and Look!

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Revelation. Epiphany. Illumined. Enlightened. Awakened. We all have these points in life where we hit either a road block, a pit stop, a stumbling block, our breaking point, rock bottom or a wall. It is in these moments, where I believe a message awaits us.

When I was younger, when moments like these that I mentioned above happened, I would get discouraged. Seriously, I would be so hard on myself to the point where I felt like the best thing to do was give up. Maybe you have been there yourself. It is usually in these moments, once I take a step back, I am awakened to a self discovery about myself. Something I probably would had never noticed if it wasn’t for something to come into my course of life and cause me to stop.

Breaking down, stopping, resting, being able to pause is a good thing. In fact, I don’t think we do enough of it. So maybe, just maybe God allows for road blocks, walls and stumbling blocks to happen so that we can see what’s most important in our life. Maybe He wants us to slow down for a moment.

Something special happens when our course of life is forced to stop. There is an unique awareness beginning to happen. There is an array of questions beginning to form within our finite minds. We’re trying to figure out what’s going on, how can the problem(s) be solved and what do I need to do to get through this.

Life as we know it, will never be a smooth journey where the scale is consistently going up like a straight line. We know this is not how life happens. Instead, life is much more like the Millennium Force (for all of my Cedar Point riders). Life is full of thrills, ups, downs, tragedy’s, heartbreaks, memories and so on. The best thing that happens in my opinion is the discovery that you and I have the choice to do something. We have the opportunity to learn, to grow and to make changes for the better. Epiphany, revelation, whatever we want to call it, there’s a chance for us to wake up, mature and move forward.

Whatever season you are in, whatever situation you are faced with on today, take a step back and ask yourself: God, what are you trying to reveal to me? What do I need to learn about myself? How can I grow from this and become a better person? Usually, asking “why” or “why is this happening to me?” is not the right question to ask. Asking why a lot of times leads to self pity and self condemnation. The “why” will be revealed, the “why” will be discovered as you process and analyze.

God has an unique way of letting us know why we go through certain things. You may not get the answer or response you were hoping for but what you will get is a chance and opportunity to grow. If you’re like me, growing in life is important. In fact, growing remains on the priority list. We each need moments in life to slow us down. So instead of getting frustrated and upset, use these moments to clear your mind, to free your spirit and to see the good that’s about to happen.

God bless,

J Scott Samarco

Breaking Bad Habits

Breaking Bad Habits

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A bad habit is a negative behavioral pattern. It is a behavior pattern that is detrimental to your life. Someone once said, “A bad habit is like a comfortable bed. It is easy to get into but hard to get out of.” There are several bad habits in my life that I want and need to get out of. I’ll even take it a step further. There are bad habits that I’ve been carrying around for quite some time and now, I am in the place I am in because of not making changes.

Here are a few bad habits that I have:

My eating habits. – Meaning the times I eat, what I put into my body and my love for sweets. It’s insane! Cupcakes and oreos are my kryptonite. 🙂

Procrastination. – Waiting until the last minute, being lazy, not doing what needs to be done ahead of time and then scrambling at the last minute to get things done.

Lack of exercise. – Working out a couple of times a week, feeling like I achieved something knowing I need to stick to a consistent schedule to see better results.

Sleeping patterns. – Staying up into the late hours of the night. Fighting to get out of the bed early in the morning. This happens way too often.

The time I spend with God. – When I spend time with God out of duty and not out of love. That’s a major problem.

Social Media: – Spending countless amount of time on social networks. You know what I mean, spending too much time browsing, laughing and sharing.

I’m sure I can add something else to this list but I’ll stop with these 6 bad habits. I don’t want to overwhelm you or myself. It is likely you have some bad habits you are carrying around. If you’re like me, you want change, in fact you desire change but you seem to find yourself in a comfortable bed as well. Here are some questions for us who are stuck in the bed, wanting to get out to ponder on:

When is enough, enough? – For real!

How many times are you going to start and stop? – We are like walking stop watches. :/

When will you stop talking about it and just do it? – Shout out to Nike!

When will you make the decision to break your bad habits? – Hopefully you start now!

The power, the choice, the decision is in your hand. For the next 21 days, I will be embarking in the journey to break these habits that I listed above. Many say it takes 21 days to break and create habits. I’ve tried this out before, and it is true. I know it’s going to take some dedication, sacrifice, some determination and some plain out shut your mouth and get it done type of mentality. I’m up for the journey of becoming better. Are you?

Over the next 21 days, try to do something different. Challenge yourself. Wake up earlier. Go to bed earlier. Read a book. Extend your prayer time. Try running an extra mile. Read a Proverb a day for a month. Instead of eating out, cook a healthy meal. (If you can’t cook, go out to eat!) Eat some fruit instead of chocolate. (I need your prayers on this one). On a serious note. Let’s be the change that we want to see. I’m rooting for you!