This is the passover lamb, risen as a lion.
This is the cross and crown.
This is what He gave and those whom He received.
This is the Gospel, that God came down in flesh, as a man named Jesus. That He lived a perfect life, and became a perfect sacrifice in death. That by His giving up of life, we may take part in it. That He rose again three days later, and ascended to Heaven forty days after. That Jesus is Christ, Son of God, sitting at the right hand of the Father. That He did all this because He loves us.
This is the Gospel.
This is the Good News.
This is the truth:
Love has won.

-- This is the Gospel

Words…

Hello world changers!

I am telling Siri to type this out so if there are any grammatical or spelling errors it’s all Siri’s fault okay. I haven’t posted anything the last however long I haven’t posted things because I am terribly inconsistent, and that is okay. I am human. However, I do apologize any of you who’ve expected other posts from this blog on a routine basis.

Today I have been with April for about 182 days. That is half the year. Six months. I just saw a video of Ella and Eli and that made me happy too. Yay for thems!

You need healing, friend. I don’t know what kind of healing, whether it be emotional or physical or mental or relational, but I know you need it. And I have good news for you, because our God is Jehovah Rapha, that is, the God who heals. He is the healer of the brokenhearted and the great physician and the one who can renew your mind and the source of love. There is no thing that is broken or maimed or scarred or scratched or shattered or torn apart that he does not have the ability to pull back together and make new. He makes all things new. And beloved, you may not know this yet but they will be a day where you will look back and say

"My God brought me through that"

It will be a glorious day and you will give honor and praise to God for he had kept you in his grasp even the darkest of nights and in the hardest of trials and in the most painful suffering. Just hold fast. Hold fast to the truth is our Lord, Jesus Christ. Hold fast to the rock. Set your eyes upon God and do not look away. He will come through. He always comes through. Remember that our God is love, and that love never ever ever fails.

Peace and love from God, forever;
Your brother in Christ,

Declan

Dearest 3-Dimensional Beings,

So I had planned on telling you some vaguely theological truth that has applied to me this last week, but instead I’ll give you this writing about something that has happened to me recently.

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Spontanious Haitus

Dearest followers,

I took a break from writing things (and a lot of other things) so that I could get a hold on things because some things were going on. Sorry about that!

I’m hoping to get some things written by tomorrow night, so be expectant!

Love from your brother in Christ,

Declan

A Question of Identity

Me beloved family,

Let me ask you something.
Do you know who you are? Do you really?

     You might think you do. You might think to yourself, “I’m pretty sure I know me.” But in the same thought you’ll think ill of yourself. You might look in the mirror and hate what you see. You might compare yourself to others, and believe that they are somehow better than you. You might decide that who you are is not who you want to be because you’re not smart enough, pretty enough, strong enough, brave enough, good enough but do you know how God sees you?

     God sees you as His child. He sees you as His son or daughter. He sees you as an individual that He loves, cherishes, protects, wants, and believes in. He sees you without blemish or mistake or any mark. He sees you as perfect, made holy, and incredibly dear to His heart. He doesn’t see you how you see yourself. He sees you in your fullness, the fullness that is found in Him. He sees you as if sin was never even an issue.

So do you know who you are?
Because you are, first, foremost, ultimately, and above all things,
His.

Your brother in Christ,
Declan

So I Did a Teaching Thing

Dearest people of earth,

     I am in a writing mood. I want to write all sorts of small, quotable sentences, but I figure it might be a good idea to give them a centralized purpose. So I think I’m going to tell you a short story. If you want to get straight to the point, look for the paragraph that starts with, “So the point of this is that..,” okay? Awesome. Here we go.

     So for the last three weeks I have been teaching the junior/senior high school class on Sunday mornings. It’s the traditional Sunday school set up; the kids come in for a lesson about God, and someone who knows a bit more teaches them. For me to teach these kids, many of whom have been Christ follower all their lives, seemed a little intimidating to me. I’ve been following our Saviour for almost two years now. That really isn’t a very long time. Truly, I am still an infant in the faith, and it is this that causes me to have some reservations about truly teaching (not that it always has, as I was far more prideful about my knowledge in the past).

     And let me tell you, the lessons that I taught did not have the effects I wanted them to have. I wanted to be able to see these kids be moved by the power and grace and holiness of God, so much that they could not help but jump head-first into the world and seek and spread His kingdom. This idealism I had in mind certainly did not come to fruition. The first time I taught, I had a difficult time getting any response at all from these kids. They didn’t seem moved; they seemed bored. This was not what I wanted to happen. It seemed to me that instead of pulling them towards God, I had made them more apathetic to Him.

     The second week wasn’t much better. In fact, it was worse. The first week I stayed loosely to the lesson plan. This week I tried to stay to it. I was continuously looking back at my notes, and not much was being said. It was not until the end of the time I had that I had some redemption. We played a game along the lines of Quelf(look it up), but in teams and with biblical themes. That went over wonderfully, and most of the class participated and enjoyed this activity.

     This last week, in my mind, was the most successful. The introduction activity was shaky at best, but it represented some major points in our prayer life. And fortunately for me, things went up from there. The lesson was about repentance, our need for it, and God’s grace for giving it. For those of you who don’t know me, I sometimes have issues with this. I mean, our sin nature does cause us all to struggle with true repentance at times, right? And I opened up a little to these kids about how shameful I had felt, and how I hid from God at times because I couldn’t bear to ask for forgiveness and retribution. I think that’s when it may have hit home for some of them. I got a few nods, and was pushed to go with it. I dove into a tangent about how David was so guilt-ridden when he sinned with Bethsheba, and how he cried and cried out to God for forgiveness. I talked about he was not just saying these words to God, he was being moved in His heart by God and a desire for God, so that he would turn right around and commit to Him. This lead into the key part of the lesson, because David goes from lamenting over his sin to rejoicing in God’s forgiveness. I was given the words to speak life and truth this morning, by reminding the kids about how God sees them, that is, perfect and blameless and clean, despite all of our sins, and about the desire that God has to love us more than that to hate sin.

     I think - I know God was in my words this morning. His message of love and grace was amazingly clear. I don’t know if I spoke the right words at the right time to reaffirm or encourage someone in that classroom, nor do I know if anyone’s spirit was kindled. They all could have gone home and forgotten anything that was said, or dismissed it as a basic reminder of our faith. I hope that’s not the case, but if it is, I think that’s okay.

     So the point of this is that our pasts will affect our messages. I don’t believe God causes bad things to happen, or that He causes us to struggle with certain things. But I do believe that we are given opportunities to use of hardships of the past to become tales to shape futures. What we learn in our lives is far easier to emphasize than what we learn through a lesson plan. We are shaped into who we are, and who we are going to be for a purpose. This purpose is to bring glory to God through love, love, and love.

     I love you. I really, really do. Please let me remind you of who you are. You are chosen by God. You were not chosen by random selection, but because Go was pleased in you. He wanted you because you are you, and because He wanted to live in you. You are His child. He has adopted you into His family. He loves you as a father and a brother and a friend and is all of these things for you. He has brought you into His home and He wants you to stay. You are made perfect. No, that doesn’t mean you can’t mess up or won’t fail. IT means that you are seen as blameless in God’s sight. You have no more sin that could be counted, no more stains on your cloth. You are clean. And God loves you. As far away from God you may have felt, as sinful as your life could be, and unloved as you believed, God was chasing after you. God was and is pursuing you now because He loves you so desperately that He would forsake His own life in exchange for yours. He is willing to go the distance as many times as it is needed so that you will find that He loves you. He doesn’t quit. He never stops. He always loves you.

Be blessed, my friends.

Your brother in Christ,

Declan Stuart Linfoot

A Fast and Deadly Disease

To those who have desire (so all of you),

     As I’m sitting in this coffee shop that just so happens to be my latest workplace, I feel very compelled to write to you about something quite serious. There is a contagious disease that spreads faster than wildfire, and so very often we pretend that this disease does not exist, does not infect, and does not kill. It is the disease that’s spread by mouth, taken in by ears, that poisons the mind, and breaks trough the lips to continue this vicious cycle. What is this virus?

Gossip.

     Gossip is a poisonous rash that burns our tongues and our ears with every word from it. It’s so very tempting, and so easy to squander its dire effects. Let no one deceive you; sin kills. No sin is lesser than another in this respect. All sin leads to death, even when the sin seems so trivial and insignificant. In fact, I would submit to you that gossip has the means to be the most widely affecting sin, purely for the fact that it is centred around words. Words, the same things that were used by the Creator Himself to bring life into existence, have the ability to extinguish hope and peace and love and all sorts of other things. Your words have power, and this is not to be taken lightly.

     If you’re looking for biblical references on gossip, you might have a hard time finding the exact word. However, there are many instances that the bible refers to whisperers, slanderers, and those who do not keep their tongues in check. Some of these speak more to liars, but most can be applied to gossip. In truth, we have all been affected by gossip in one way or another, whether it be gossip about us, or our own gossiping, or simply overhearing another person. We are hurt from this act, though we may not find the effects too concerning at first. But gossip is a disease that can turn addiction, and it not an addiction easily overcome.

     Luckily we have Jesus Christ to overcome for us, and how wonderful is that! But still we must keep a watchful eye on our mouths so that we do not fall back into the ever so enticing temptation of gossip. Gossip will divide families, friendships, and destroy the trust you might have for other people. It is a deadly dealing, speaking out words that are not yours to rightfully give. That which comes from our lips is the overflow of our heart - remember this. Let us not fall prey to the ingestion of wickedness, but stay right to purity as well as we are able. It’s tough, I know. If you mess up, you will be forgiven. You’ve got God on your side. You have already won this battle. Just keep faith in that, okay?

And we can all look forward to the day where there will be no more gossip, so we may rest easy in His presence.

Forever your brother in Christ,

Declan

One is Everything

My handsome fellows and fair ladies,

God is enough.

     You might be thinking to yourself, “yeah, God is enough - I know that.” Most of the time I am right where you’re at, agreeing with the statement but scarcely realizing the implications of it. But if you were to take away my phone, my laptop, or even my job, I would more than surely be telling you that I need those things.

     That’s where the truth comes out. We don’t. We have no need of these things. They are just things that we greatly want and appreciate having. When it comes down to true needs, there is a very short list. So short, in fact, it’s not even a list at all. Want to know what it is? Here’s a hint: He’s the source of all creation.

Did you guess God? Correct!

     See, God is our provider, Jehova-Jireh and all that (the extent of many Christian’s Hebrew knowledge), and He will always be that for us. That’s His nature, and we know God does not change, right? So when we say that God is enough, we are declaring that He is all we need, that He is all-sufficient, and that we trust in Him wholeheartedly. God gives us a lot of Himself in exchange for nothing. Before we knew Christ, He was giving, and now after we have had our eyes open we can see He has always been faithful with giving us what we need. Remember, He’s the loving Father.

     When we say, “God is enough,” we speak a great truth. Just try to make sure that you believe it and what it means. That’s the challenging part, and you might not be able to do it on your own. But luckily for you, God is with you, and God is enough.

Peace, blessings, and love, love, love,
From your brother in Christ,

Declan Linfoot

What Prayer Is

Dearest followers and/or people-who-have-lost-their-way-on-the-internet(don’t worry, I do that too sometimes),

     Sometimes I forget what prayer is.

     Now before you ask me a thousand questions on how I live my life for Christ and not know what prayer is, let me explain. When I say this, I’m not saying that I forget whom God is, nor am I saying I forget that I am speaking to Him. I am trying to express how sometimes my prayer life is more like a monologue. I end up petitioning all sorts of things for myself and others - and that’s good - but I reject to stay in the conversation to see if God has any direct answers for me. It’s a lot like asking your friend, “Do you want pepperoni or cheese pizza? Oh let’s get cheese.” It makes the conversation loose one of its more important functions: gathering information.

     That gathering information is the part where one listens to what God is telling them. This is what I miss sometimes. I’m so caught up in getting things done and making check marks on my list that I forget to be still and wait for a reply. These replies are vital. If you go and ask God for something, and then promptly shut the door on the prayer, it might be a bit harder to believe “ask and you shall receive.” This isn’t because God changed His mind, but because you didn’t end up waiting on the receiving part. He could be chasing you around all day trying to bestow gifts upon you, but unless you pay Him any mind He is going to have a hard time delivering them.

     But even farther and more important than this is that this communication is key to having a life with God. You would have a hard time living with your significant other if you never interacted with them. It is the same way with God. Our interactions with God shape our relationship with God. The more you put into your relationship with God, the more successful it will be. When it comes to having a best friend, your best candidate is God, hands down, up, or sideways(hand movement doesn’t really affect the rating system). He gives the best advice, is the most encouraging, always loves and cares for you, and will never let you down. You just have to make sure you give Him your attention.

     So what do we do? Simply put, we talk to God. When God is speaking, listen. When God is showing you something, watch. When God is hitting you over and over again with the same verses and lessons and truths, there might be something there that you should look into. He does want to speak with you. We need to talk to God. We tell Him what we’re going through and He says to us, “I know, I love you. You will get through this, just trust me.” And we can have confidence in His words, because He is the truth(John 14:6), He will never leave us or forsake us(Hebrews 13:5), and He brings all things to the good of those who love Him(Romans 8:28). So go, give Him a bit of your time and develop that relationship. That’s what prayer is, relationship with God. And you know what? I bet He’s waiting for your call.

Your brother in Christ,

Declan

He said to me, “My will for you is Love.”

My friends, my brothers, and my sisters,

     I wish to tell you something that has come to me while I have been absent. Our God has such grace and mercy farther than our sins could ever go, and He wants you to be His far more than you could ever feel unworthy. Believe me, I have been to that place of self-hatred and loathing. I have seen myself in the mirror and thought scorn and misery onto myself. But these things are naught in the presence of God, who happens to be ever present. Yes, He is with you now and He is with you when every bit of you is screaming to give up and calling you a failure. It is the sin flesh that declares this, that flesh which has become twisted because of the folly of man.

      But our God is in authority over the matters of His creation. You are His creation. Whether you are in a place to accept this fully and recognize this or not, this truth stands for truth is unchangeable. And our God has declared greater things over us and within us than failures and mistakes. He calls us His beloved, for He loves us. He calls us His children, for He adopted us. He calls us His chosen, for He chose us. He calls us righteousness, for He has gone to the lengths of birth to death and to life again so that we may enjoy His presence! There is nothing in you that God is not aware of, and He can only love you forever.

     I was tearing myself apart earlier this week. And within the rubble I was making, God spoke clearly. He knew where I was, and He knew how to work it for my benefit. He said to me, “My will for you is Love.” Love! Not regret or self-loathing, but love. He had forgiven me before I had crashed and burned, and was waiting for me within the darkness to be a light to guide me home. God is my home and I am blessed to declare this.

     So let me speak (type) a blessing over you life, please.

O Lord, my God, my Saviour, my Friend, I ask that You are known more intimately by Your children. I ask more of You within their lives in all ways, shown through love and faithfulness and servitude, and that they too show You to the world through speech and action. I know You to be gracious, and I know You to be kind and I ask You to be exactly Yourself so that glory and love is brought to Your name. Let us not be distraught by ourselves or others, but brought into confidence and conviction to follow You and pursue Your heart more earnestly and passionately, as You so earnestly and passionately pursue ours. You are good to us, and we praise You for all that You are and all that You do. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray;
     Amen.

Forever your brother in Christ,

Declan