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James Caserta: Trust the Way Maker

8 Jul
James Caserta is a vocalist, musician and writer.  He resides in Huntington, WV.

How many times do we get any given song stuck in our heads? Sometimes it’s the latest hit that we immediately add to our playlists, or more likely it’ll be the theme song to some preschool cartoon that you’re obligated to watch with your children. Music moves all of us in different ways, whether it’s in concert, vinyl collections, or a masterful composition for your favorite movie. It speaks to us on levels that people oftentimes cannot in mere spoken word.

Every so often, I’ll hear a certain song that resonates with me on such a level that I’ll hear it in my head, over and over. For me in this season, that song is “Way Maker” by Leeland.

From the very first three words, “You are here,” I think about how many times I’ve thought I had run so far from God that He wasn’t anywhere near me, that He couldn’t hear my cries for help. To think that even after all the years I’ve wasted serving only my selfish desires that God was always here, still loving me, still desiring for me to come back to Him and fulfill all that He has planned is sometimes hard to believe.

Then, as I’m belting out the chorus (alone in my car, of course), I’m dwelling on the words “promise keeper”. Now, throughout my adult life, I’ve made innumerable amounts of promises that I would lose the weight, go back to school, etc, and never fulfilled any of them. In fact, I would go as far as to say many of the positive changes to my life were made possible because of the constant loving determination of my family to see me succeed. Having all this weighing down on my heart for so long, I began to began to place limiting factors on God’s promises. I felt that by now I had squandered too much time and now I must live a life of mediocrity, just getting by like I always have. In this season, God wanted me to know He never gave up on me, and that His word never returns to Him void, so if He spoke it over my life through someone else or said it in the Bible, He is always working, and will make a way to bring His promises to pass.

The bridge of this song really brings it all home for me, saying, “Even when I don’t see it you’re working/Even when I don’t feel it you’re working/You never stop, you never stop working/You never stop, you never stop working.” I remember times when I was only in church physically, but my mind was always somewhere else. I was so focused on everything that was going on around me, all of struggles I was dealing with, that was all I could see. I no longer trusted that God was working in my life, or that He would ever rescue me from where I was.

When I was thinking about all this a moment ago, God showed me something that I just had to put into writing. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all heard the story of Peter walking on the water more times than we could ever count, but when you really stop and think about it, you begin to wonder about certain things. For me, I couldn’t help but think about that moment Peter looked away from Jesus, toward the raging storm around him, and he began to drown. I think about what went through his head in that split moment, when the storm tried to claim his life. We know he was afraid, because after taking his eyes off the one who helped him rise above the raging waters, his fear allowed his circumstances to overwhelm him. I really related to that idea of letting circumstances and fear control every aspect of my life, and completely lose sight of the way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, and the light in the darkness.

After Peter cried out for the Lord to save him, and Jesus immediately pulling him back up, he says to Peter, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31 NIV). That doubt and fear Peter almost succumbed to are my two biggest obstacles in my personal life. That’s why Leeland’s song is such an important message for me; when I truly start to trust that God never stops working even when I don’t see it or feel it, I get the motivation to go after His promises, and see them fulfilled in my life. I’ve felt the Lord reach into my storm and say to me, “why did you doubt me?”

I am learning more about the fierceness of God’s love and just how relentless he can be (I could probably write a whole other blog about You Won’t Relent by Misty Edwards) and I’m working daily to remove myself from the situation and let God be the Lord of my life. I know I have a long road yet to travel, but I know He will always be here with me, that He never stops working on me, and that I can always trust in Him to lead me through all the storms in my life.

 

Check out James’ blog, “Stepping into the Light” at:

https://jamescaserta.wordpress.com/

 

James Caserta: Finally Stepping Into The Light – Part 3

27 Mar

Taking Back My Fire

JAMES

Sunday, March 26, 2017

  “Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.”

Luke 10:19 NLT

A couple weeks ago I took it upon myself to begin this blog, to document my journey to better health and regaining the life I had taken for granted; a life I sacrificed in exchange for immediate satisfaction. Each week I sit here at the family computer, and I put on my uplifting music, and I lift up this new entry to God, to use for His divine purpose.
Now, I’m finally beginning to see some of those results I’ve been looking for. The exciting part is hearing many others comment on how I look like I’ve lost weight; it’s like fuel to the fire for me. I could not be happier with how this is going so far, and the minor improvements in my mobility and stamina are all testaments to my daily efforts to control how much food I intake.
However, this is only half the battle for me. During my low points, those times when I felt hopeless and past the point of no return, my spiritual fire was decimated. I completely lost my faith in God, and I felt as if He wasn’t even listening. Those voices had me convinced that I had thrown my life away, and God wasn’t going to answer my tear-filled cries for help. So taking back my fire is just as critical to my overall well-being as my physical health is.
The voices are still there, but I have a choice as to how much power they have over my mind and the choices I make. So I’m making it my goal to arm myself with the knowledge that comes from the Bible, and to reignite my dormant inner being, because I refuse to let my weight or my food addiction dictate my identity any more. I can’t take this for granted, or make excuses like I have so many times before.
And so, for my health, for my wife, for my family, and most of all for my God, I’m taking the fight to the enemy, and taking back my fire, once and for all.

James Caserta’s Journey: Finally Stepping Into The Light

18 Mar

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. ~Matthew 26:41
 
   The above verse is how I would summarize my journey thus far. I desire these things-a healthy weight, lower risk of diabetes among many other things, but my flesh is continually seeking instant gratification. So I’m struggling to keep my goals in front of me, and I find myself settling for less than my best and justifying it by telling myself “hey at least it’s better than what you were doing before”.
   This week I’ve adopted some good habits, such as tracking calories via the My Fitness Pal app, and it’s proven effective in pointing out which foods will consume my calorie limit quickly. My wife and I have been preparing meals at the beginning of each week, which can be time consuming (and expensive) but very rewarding if you can commit to eating only what’s in those containers each week.
   After taking these couple steps forward, I’ve found myself becoming content yet again, not really sacrificing everything for the sake of a new life and a new body, but rather giving enough to showcase in front of everyone so that it appears that way. Specifically, the types of foods I’ve been taking in haven’t changed outside of what we prep each week, and eating out with family usually means I eat whatever I choose. If something is offered to me, I usually accept it; I mean, it would be rude to say no, right?
   I make excuses because I’m not willing to cut off my flesh from what it desires, even if it means delaying my progress. So I need to learn to surrender myself, flesh and all, to the God of the Universe, the only one who can give me the strength I need to overcome. After all, Jesus endured all the temptations we face here on Earth, so He certainly knows what I’m going through.
   I pray that He would help me to die to self every day, so His willing Spirit can take control of my life, and lead me to the life of freedom God has planned for me on the other side. Help me Lord to stop listening to what my mind and body tell me, and strive to follow your voice and heed your Word instead.

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James Caserta: Finally stepping into the light

10 Mar

JAMES

James Caserta: Christian conservative, patriot and blogger

Friday, March 10, 2017

Day One

For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,    and the complacency of fools will destroy them ~Proverbs 1:32

If you are taking time to read this, first of all you have my gratitude. My vision for this series of entries is to reach as many people as possible, and even if it helps just one person, I will have considered it a success.

I’ve always been drawn to writing, and I knew it wasn’t just a coincidence; I believe writing is something God has always had planned for me, to share my story, to be a light in a world full of darkness. This is a new adventure for me, so by doing this blog I am definitely stepping out of my comfort zone, but the way I see it, I have been comfortable for far too long.

My life has been filled with blessings, I have a great family that loves and holds each other up, and my parents have always strived to be examples of good work ethic and Godliness.

From the time I was born, I have been surrounded by love and many memories over the years. If I could summarize my personal journey from childhood to adulthood in one word, I would say “complacent”, meaning everything I did was routine, everything was taken care of for me, so there was never anything to worry about; I was in the perfect comfort zone. I went through life on autopilot (cliché I know but it’s true 😉 ) while shirking my responsibilities at home and in my personal life; after all, I have parents who are always there and a God who will never leave nor forsake me, and my life has been great so far, so why worry right?

Little did I know I was being suffocated spiritually by the darkness of complacency, blinded to my own faults by stubbornness, barred from God’s promise of a prosperous future filled with His grace and favor because I chose to appease the temptations, promising to make everything better, convincing me to forget about it for one more day.

I snuffed out my own light in exchange for a “comfortable life”, and it wasn’t until I met my life partner that I was made to see just how broken I was.

Once the mirror was turned on me, I didn’t recognize the person staring back at me, and I hated him. I still do most days. Hate is kindling for evil to grow, so naturally my habits and my priorities became more and more corrupted. As the verse above stated, my foolish complacency was destroying me from the inside out.

Today, as I sit here, I weigh 508 lbs., literally carrying the weight of all my life choices everywhere I go…and I’m done. I’m over this life.  I’m fed up with feeding myself to the point of an early death, losing my wife because my weight has caused me to become near infertile, the hope of a family becoming more and more distant.

The little things I used to take for granted, even putting my socks and shoes on or going up stairs have become arduous tasks, sometimes requiring assistance. I think back to whom I was versus who I am now, and my heart breaks.

So I’m taking a step forward, into the light, little by little, this time by pursuing weight loss surgery. I had my consultation today with Dr. Blaine Nease, and I can say that I am very excited for what my future holds. I’m doing weekly meal prepping with my amazing wife, without whom I could not hope to make all these delicious meals I have to choose from 😋.

I will be using this blog to document my journey through the next six months, leading up to the big day, and then the following weeks and months, watching my life change before my eyes.

Each day brings more hope, more light, and I feel more determined than ever. However, I cannot do this alone, so I’m sharing my story with all of you to keep myself accountable, and to ask for prayers as I leave my comfortable life behind, one step at a time.

 

James Caserta at 5:51 PM

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  Finally Stepping Out Into the Light

 

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