God is the God of Another Chance

“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing— grain and drink offerings for the LORD your God.

Joel 2:12-14 NIV (1984)

With God, there is always an “even now”. In chapters one and even two, God pronounces His judgment against the nation of Judah for their disobedience. God through his prophets pleaded for the hearts of His people. Today if you’ve walked away from the Lord, or if you’ve found yourself far from Him because you’ve slowly but surely drifted away from Him. God is compassionate and He is forgiving. This is our reason for returning, because of who He is. And we return because He promises to return to those who return to Him (Malachi 3:7). This is God! A holy God who must punish wickedness, and also has compassion on all He’s made (Psalm 145:9).

God tells us how to return:

FASTING: It maybe fasting from what has consumed your attention or affections. It may just be taking a significant time to purposely draw near Him.

WEEPING: Don’t hold back, consider how committing sin has wounded the heart of such a loving God. A God who dwelled with us (John 1:14), died for us that He may rescue us. Weep for sorrow. Weep because you see nothing else in all this earth that is worthy of hurting His heart or disobeying His law. Weep because you know you were wrong. Weep but know that after repentance you are forgiven by Him.

MOURNING: Mourn because it is a bitter thing to forsake God. Mourn because you see the error of your ways. Mourn because you feel foolish, but know that He doesn’t call you fool, He calls you, “Beloved.”

There are endless examples in the Old Testament of God loving and pursuing undeserving people. People who didn’t deserve His grace didn’t deserve to be called by His name. Yet because He loved them and He keeps His covenant, time and time again He’d send His prophets to a stubborn people. The book of Hosea vividly describes the rampant idolatry of God’s people. How they even believed that their idols were the givers of their food, water, grain, oil, and wine. How does God respond to all this?

“Therefore I am now going to allure; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.” (Hosea 2:14)

God will separate ‘her’ (the people of Israel) from gods and in the desert or wilderness and ‘she’ will finally come to her senses and love the Lord. ‘She’ will see that all this time it has been the God of Israel who has given her necessities and luxuries. God would restore Israel in this desert and join them to Him forevermore (Hosea 2:19).

We are not like the people who shrink away from God or completely despair of life itself. We are people who draw near to Him with our backsliding and He heals us (Jeremiah 3:22). We come to Him bare-handed with our broken and contrite hearts. And He will not despise us (Psalm 51:17).

                                                                 ———————

I encourage you to never get weary of repentance. To never get weary of coming to Him broken for your sins. He will not get weary of forgiving us and reviving us to life again. And do not cease to be in awe of such a God. A God who is offended and yet forgives. Forgiveness is not a hint that God takes sin lightly, but rather how serious sin is. And don’t be deceived, you can live a life that is pleasing in His eyes. When you hear a whisper saying, “You can’t overcome this ________ .” Know that this is a lie. You can overcome any besetting sin. You don’t need to be “stronger” you need a stronger love of God. Read the Word continually and see how worthy this God is of all your affections. Note how His promises are better and truer than anything sin promises you. Cling to God and don’t let go.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

My New Year Resolutions

I started to name this entry, “Godly Resolutions for the New Year.” But I thought that would be a bit presumptuous. So instead I’ll tell you my own resolutions for 2018:

I will kill my pet sins.

I mentioned this briefly in my last post. I am resolved to not make any more excuses for my sins. Gluttony is a sin I’ve “struggled” with for a while. When I say struggling I mean that I was fully convinced that it was sinful and simultaneously felt completely helpless to do anything about it. And quite honestly I didn’t desire to change my ways. I was well versed in confession but not in repentance. I would say sorry to the Lord for sinning against Him, and yet in the back of my mind, I wasn’t ready to put it to death or to turn away from it. Then I would despair of life itself because I knew I shouldn’t gratify the desires of the flesh, but I couldn’t seem to help myself. I would often feel defeated to the extent that wouldn’t even try to not sin against God. I’m not waiting until the clock strikes 12 for me to do change anything about this. I’m starting now. Christ is better than whatever sin you may be treasuring. Kill your pet sin and find out.

I will steward my time and gifts better.

I can be so wasteful of time that it is absurd. Well, I am resolved to be jealous for myself and the time God has given me. I want to make sure that I’m using my time in a way that matches my desires. I desire for God to be glorified in my life, to encourage and equip the saints and that I may win some souls for my Savior. I will live in such a way that I can work toward what I really desire. That means that I need to make sacrifices in my day. I won’t have time to do all the things my flesh desires like endless scrolls on social media, TV marathons or everyday movie nights. It doesn’t make sense that in my free time I do what I really don’t desire. God entrusts us with time, gifts and resources. And while He is absolutely sovereign we must take our responsibility for the times that we drop the ball. God is a redeemer and He can redeem those wasted hours and days. But friends we are like a flower in a field we will not be here forever. We don’t have a lot of time to waste. We need to go forward and be good and faithful servants. That “well done” that all saints desire to hear from their Lord (Matt 25:23), is earned in these days we have now. No matter how mundane no day can be wasted. Let us do what really matters to us and to God.

I will be disciplined.

I’ve lacked complete discipline most of 2017 if not all of it. I didn’t exercise self-control in eating or in how I spent my time. I would sometimes have these moments where I would be zealous to turn things around in this respect, but as soon as my zeal was gone I regressed back into not have self-control. I would read the word self-control in the Bible and just cringe. I knew I was lacking in that fruit and just the thought of exercising that spiritual “muscle” seemed less than fun and overwhelming to me. But I’ve come to realize that I do have control over myself. I’m not some helpless puddle of a person. I control myself when I overindulge in food, or when I have Netflix binges when I know that I have others I need to be doing. I am in control of myself in those moments. So that means that I can say, ‘no’ to an extra helping of food or when Netflix just goes into the next episode. It seems elementary but I really believe I was in a stronghold or hugely deceived about self-control. When I grabbed the whole bag of chips, instead of grabbing a serving I really believed that there was nothing I could do to help myself. I feel like I have to say that there is nothing innately wrong with enjoying food or entertainment. But when we enjoy them rightly we show that we are thankful to the Giver. And when we are disciplined we can enjoy them as God designed them to be enjoyed. These things are not the main things, they cannot satisfy our souls. In 2018 and beyond let’s keep the main thing, the main thing. Let’s enjoy Christ as the best gift we could ever imagine, or ever deserve.

I will enjoy God.

I am resolved to enjoy God and think good and true things about Him. God isn’t some taskmaster ready to whip me if I don’t complete my Bible reading plan or devotional. God is not weary of me, He loves me. I am resolved to approach my quiet time as a means to discover more about Him. While knowing that He meets me there every day. I am resolved to be so full of the truth that I won’t believe the lies that Satan says about Him, nor will I believe his accusations about me. I know that He is my chiefest good and that apart from Him I have no good thing (Psalm 16:2). God the Father is good even if my plans don’t happen when I want them to. God the Holy Spirit is good especially when He convicts me of sin. God the Son is good even though He bids me to pick up my cross and die (Luke 9:23). God is good and I am resolved not to believe anything other than that. I will think of God’s love for me, and not focus on how unlovable I can be. I will remind myself that God already loves me and I didn’t earn it nor can I lose it. And that I don’t need to work myself up into a tizzy because Jesus Christ is my righteousness. We may not enjoy the spouses, children, careers or opportunities our heart’s desire, but we can still enjoy God. We can remind ourselves of the Gospel and be the first preacher we hear. Friends, let’s not wait until the call of the trumpet let’s enjoy God today.

There is something special about the coming of a new year, we should be thankful to God that our eyes may see 2018. Yet, January 1st is no more special than any new day that God gives us. Every day that we awake we receive new mercies, to repent and to draw near Him. If anything we should ask God to help us to be faithful even when our zeal or passion goes missing in action. January 1st doesn’t unleash some power that we don’t have available to us day by day. Dream big, pray prayers that make you a little apprehensive and make big plans. But know we make plans, but our times are all in His hands. And don’t put your hope in them, let them be stayed on Christ. I’m sure that wherever we go that our Shepherd will be with us. And that He will teach us many new things, and we will look more like Him. Love God, cling to Him and don’t let go.

The Question of the Day: What are your resolutions for 2018 if any? Do you have a word for the year? What changes do you want God to make in your heart?

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

What I’ve Learned This Year (2017)

With 2018 just around the corner, I thought I would compose a list of some things I have learned this year:

I’ve learned that personal holiness isn’t an option.

I’ve struggled in the past few months wrestling with this idea of pursuing holiness. I know that God in Christ has called me to holiness(1 Peter 1:5). Often times the thought overwhelms me and takes my breath away. Indeed it is a high calling, one that we will not perfect on this side of glory. Yet God wants us to share His nature (Hebrew 12:!0) so it is something that is worth every effort. I would go back and forth in my mind, ‘Why pursue holiness if I’m going to continue to fall short of the glory of God? Why pursue holiness (which is perfection) when I will not become perfect in this life?’ And to be transparent it is still something I’m tossing back and forth in my mind today. The facts: God has called me to be holy and He has given me all I need to be like Him(2 Peter 1:3). I think the already-and-not-yet aspect of Christianity is slightly frustrating me. I want to be perfect now, and that will never be my reality. I think once I got saved I realized that I have some perfectionism and I can be more driven by my performance than my love for God. It is a grace a to be in Christ but often times I am overwhelmed by how often I need to look to Him. What I mean is this, Jesus is my righteousness, He makes me acceptable to the Father. And yet I find myself wanting to earn God’s love and have a righteousness of my own. It is humbling, and I so need to be humbled. I need to not make myself “lovable” but be compelled by God’s love for me in Christ.

I’ve learned that it is easier to fall away from God than it is to draw near Him.

There is no such thing as a ‘happy middle’ in Christianity. We are either drawing close to God or we are moving far from Him. And I notice for me that the shift is swift, and often times I’m so far away from God before I even realize it. It is when the means of grace (prayer, Bible study, devotions, fasting, etc.) become something to check off my list than a means to draw near to God. I’ll find myself racing through these just to do the things I’d rather do. And don’t get me wrong we need to discipline ourselves in these matters so that we will do them. But we have to be mindful that we don’t earn God’s love because we do them, no are we working to earn righteousness, because Christ is our righteousness. If we aren’t drawing near to God with these means of grace He’s given us, allowing Him to renew our minds, focus our gaze and warm our hearts with His fire, we are moving away from Him.

I’ve learned that there is this perfect Christ-follower in my head, and she is so much better than me. Yet she is not standard, Christ is the standard.

So often I get overwhelmed comparing myself to her. She loves the Lord. She’d rather read her Bible, or Christian books than settle for a night of binging on Netflix. She prays all the time. She goes to church, even when she doesn’t feel like it. She cares about and loves people. She is perfect, and I am not. Now, there is nothing wrong with none of her activities. I aim to be more Christ-like but I am not her. This woman in head never struggles, she never is tried by fire nor does she sin. She is perfect! I don’t need to go on social media to compare myself to others because there is a non-existing person that I already do that with. I have to remind myself that Christ is the standard, He actually exists and doesn’t desire for me to be so tortured.

I’ve learned that God isn’t leaving my side.

I think I’ve given God many reasons to leave my side. In my mind, He would still be just to throw to the towel with me. But if He did He would be no God.  As challenging as my walk is, and will likely continue to be God has not given me over. Were it not for those hard-headed Israelites in the Old Testament I would not know that God is so compassionate and merciful. I would not know that He is a covenant-keeping God. There have been several times I desired to walk away from God, not because I stopped believing, or because He isn’t good. But because walking with Him was harder than I expected. And still, He never left my side. God is faithful even we aren’t. Because of those dark moments (that I wouldn’t wish for anyone else) I know my name is written in heaven. I’m even surer of my salvation in Christ. I know that even when I am a mess, and I can’t lift my eyes heavenward, God will complete this good work that He’s’ started in me (Phil 1:6).

I’ve learned the significance of tithing, and generosity in general.

This is mostly due to the four-week series my church did on this subject. It wasn’t very long after I joined a church, that I understood the importance of tithing. But my Pastors Dr. Marcus D. Davidson Jr. and Frank Kennedy Jr. expounded several scriptures about generosity. Before I came to know God I presumed churches were after the member’s wallet. But when God gave me faith in His Son, I saw in the Scriptures that giving wasn’t a man-made idea. From Genesis to Revelation we see God’s people giving out of what He’s already given them. And again we don’t give to earn God’s grace or favor. We give because we want our treasures to be in heaven(Matthew 6:19-21).

I’ve learned that you can’t have pet sins.

Gluttony has been a pet sin of mines since the Holy Spirit first convicted me that it indeed was a sin. In the past, I have tried to put it away, and exercise self-control, only to eventually give up and decide to try to control it instead of killing it (Romans 8:13). A pet sin is a sin dear to your heart, one that you refuse to let go of. You convince yourself that you can keep it and control it. But sin can’t be controlled it can only control you. When we seek to not put sin away but rather keep it, we desire to reverse the roles, but that is impossible. Sin will always be master and we can only be slaves to it. Besides sin isn’t something to take likely. It puts barriers between us and God. We can not be a slave to two masters, we will love the one and hate the other(Matthew 6:24). You may put sin in a little cage, and sometimes take it out and pet it, but it will always control you. And you will never control it.

This year has gone by too fast. I’ve learned a lot this year, I’ve had days on the mountain and days in the valley. But God has been with me every step of the way, although dark and confusing. I think if I had to think of one word to describe this year, I would say ‘crawling’. Seeing that I am still somewhat of an infant in Christ. I am learning to walk with God, sometimes I fall, but He always picks me right up. My earthly father died this year, only months ago, but God has reminded that I still have a Father, an eternal one at that. All in all, I am blessed even when my own eyes can’t see it.

Thank You for following my journey as I walk with God. May God bless and keep you. May your heart be filled with gratitude. May you be contented. May you love the Lord with all your strength.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

Dear, Troubled Disciple


After they had evangelized that town and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium, and to Antioch, strengthening the disciples by encouraging them to continue in the faith and by telling them, “it is necessary to pass through many troubles on our way into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:21-22 (HCSB)

So like Peter says don’t think it strange*. This is the way and the only way. You didn’t make a wrong turn, your Shepherd knows the way you are going. It is the same exact way He went. Having your supposed, “heart’s desires” fulfilled will not change the trouble that you must go through. The trouble is not because you don’t have your heart’s desires, you will still experience trouble when or if God gives them to you. Your troubles don’t exist because God is cruel or doesn’t know HOW you feel, but because they are necessary. There is no eternal weight of glory without suffering. There is no crown without a cross. Your faith, sanctification or your pilgrimage is not something that you can nuke in the microwave to make the process faster.

There is no elevator to heaven, there is only the long and narrow way. 

I know you want to avoid suffering and pain. It is something that no one wants to partake in, even the Son of God requested that the cup of suffering would pass from Him*. He cried aloud to God, “Father is there another way?” Unlike your earthly parents who may show favoritism or be partial to one child over the other, your heavenly Father’s answer remains the same, “this is the way”.

You need to learn how to lift up your eyes and squint to see past what you are feeling and dealing with today. It is quite a difficult discipline to learn, but it is also necessary. There is more to this story than what you were feeling yesterday or today. You are not hopeless, your light of hope is only getting brighter and brighter. You’re only getting closer to your real home. God’s word says that what you are feeling today is momentary and light* compared to an eternity in His presence. The troubles you are going through today are not worthy to be compared to an eternity with God. For your dimness, today will be gone and exchanged for sight. Your loneliness today will be gone and exchanged for a prepared room with your Savior and the rest of the beloved. Your sorrow today will be gone and exchanged for undisturbed joy. Your confusion today will be gone and exchanged for amazement when you see God’s wisdom in writing His story. It is safe to believe the best things about God, He will never disappoint you.

Take the comfort God has graciously given you in His Word and cling to it, better yet cling on to Him! Ask God for wisdom* on how you can go through these varied troubles with hope and joy but without sin. Rest in God’s wisdom. And remember that God’s peace surpasses any understanding your heart may desire. Think the best things about God don’t allow these light afflictions to wound the heart of the One who bled for you. Rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction, and be persistent in prayer*.

Prayer: God, I thank you for this reader, I’m also thankful for this message of encouragement I was able to share. My prayer is that you would grant this reader wisdom so that they can see with the eyes of faith that the trouble they may be experiencing today is indeed incomparable to the glory that You’ve prepared for them. Lord, make them mindful of all the good that they have in their life, namely the salvation of their soul through your Son Jesus Christ. Lord, I pray they wouldn’t be too pressed by their troubles that they can’t count your fresh mercies. God, help them to set their minds on heavenly things, where your Son is seated. Lord, I pray that they would not feel lonely in their troubles but that they would feel greatly loved. No human is without trouble, but not everyone has the privilege of having God work in it for their good. I ask that You would give them a steadfast, trusting heart that perseveres in troubles. Thank you, Lord, in Jesus’s name, Amen.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

I Am A Self-Entitled Christian

 

Confession: I am a self-entitled Christian. Recently I’ve started to study the book of Job. I was reading about Job’s significant test of faith. I greatly admired how Job reacted to the first test of his faith in chapter one. After losing his 10 children, all his servants, and livestock, Job worshiped and blessed God’s name. I also admired Job’s theology that he knew that God was sovereign over all creation and that He is sovereign over the sequences of his own life. Job’s saw God hand in all that he was suffering, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). And then when he was covered in boils from head to toe, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10). I’ve taken adversity from my Father’s loving hand as well, so I knew how difficult it is to not sin with your lips or to blame God (1:22). Let’s be honest, God is an easy culprit, especially when you know that He is sovereign. But, let us not fall into the snare of the enemy, who desired to see Job curse God to His face (Job 1:;11;2:5).

More honesty, I would love to say that when my faith was tested I held onto my faith or integrity like Job did. But, I identified more with Job’s wife, who suggested that her bridegroom, “curse God and die” (2:9) Job’s unnamed wife had gone to the place where her beloved sat in ashes scraping his skin with a potsherd, and asked him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity?” She had already lost her integrity by sinning with her lips. She said to her husband, “You are covered in boils, how is your integrity serving you now?” Job faced yet another temptation to sin with his lips, his own wife was encouraging him to join her. Yet, he resisted and said that he would accept this adversity, just as he had accepted all the good God had given him.

At the core of Job’s wife, harsh words were self-entitlement. Her family simply didn’t deserve what had happened to them. She could not embrace God or this new season of her life because it was what she did not deserve. As I was reading a great commentary by David Guzik, along with the text God began to open up my eyes and reminding me of my previous reactions when my faith was tested. In times past I’ve responded questioning God and throwing pity parties. I would quickly weep, “but God I’m trying so hard”. As if my effort should be rewarded.  Somewhere deep inside of me I truly believed that I deserved God’s good gifts. I had corrupted God’s generousity into something more like an allowance system.

But God wasn’t done with me yet, He began to counsel my heart. He peeled back layers and showed me that my discontentment and the difficulties I had dealt with embracing all that my life is in this particular season, stems from my own self-entitlement. Here I was applauding Job’s theology and yet holding to the same wrong theology his friends suffered with. Job’s three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar believed that God rightly gave good people or good actions the gifts they deserved or earned. So Job’s suffering had to stem from some wrong he had committed. Their theology is simply that the righteous don’t suffer. However we are different, these men haven’t had the luxury of reading the New Testament letters, or having the knowledge that God’s own Son suffered greatly.

So my error was that I believed that every good gift God gave was repayment and every “bad” gift that was given to me was undeserved and uncalled for.

I’m reminded of when Jesus fed the 5,000 people. After He’d fed them they looked for Jesus and His disciples. The Savior waits no time in calling them out, “Truly, Truly I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled (John 6:26).” Then Jesus goes on further to explain that He is the Bread of life. And that He is the sustenance that they should seek, not perishing food. When Jesus confesses again that not only is He the bread of life, but He came down from heaven (John 6:41). The people began to take offense at Him and many of them withdrew from walking with Him anymore (John 6:66). Then Jesus turns to the twelve disciples and asks them “You do not want to go away also, do you?” It’s then that Peter makes the confession that every child of God must say when their faith is tested, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:67-69).

At the core of it that is the purpose of our faith being tested, will we still walk with God even when life throws us a curve ball? What about when you are tested back to back like Job will you curse or blame God? Because Satan is still hoping to get the children of God to curse Him. And he’s still out to destroy our faith with the same fervency he hoped to quench Job’s faith. What if God doesn’t grant your heart’s desire in “a timely matter” or even at all, will you still serve Him? Job’s wife believed that her husband’s integrity served no purpose, or at least it wasn’t serving his best interest. Are you following God for what He can give you? Or do you know that there is no other place to be? Do you know that no one loves you more than He does?

I have had hidden motives for serving God. Satan is right in believing that removing certain creature comforts or being inflicted with pain exposes one’s purposes. But he was also very wrong in his estimation of Job. I pray that we would also prove our Adversary wrong and fight the temptation to blame God when we suffer or experience adversity. I also pray that God’s manifold wisdom will be displayed to Satan and his motley crew (Ephesians 3:10). We need not despair when our Father’s hands open to reveal an adverse gift. We can always be sure that adversity is not punishment, for Christ has been crucified (Romans 8:34). We can also know that we are never left to experience the adversity in His hand by our lonesome. While Satan hopes to destroy our faith, our Father’s purpose is to strengthen our faith. When we know that God owes us nothing at all and that He has not given us what we really deserve, with gratefulness we can accept His good gifts and we can see His hand and heart in the adverse gifts. We are debtors to God’s grace and it’s in His generosity that He gives and gives again. Let us not taint what is good, perfect and holy with our pride. And let us not worship the gifts but the Giver, who is ever worthy and blessed. Amen.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

How to Keep Your Torch Burning Bright for Christ.


After indulging in food in a manner that crossed the clearly marked line between pleasure and gluttony, again. I was a little dumbfounded and overwhelmed with this habitual, willful sin in my life. I was dumbfounded because I’ve had moments when I was able to walk away from abusing food. I also was overwhelmed because here it was again, and I was tired of repenting for this same sin. Afterward, my behavior mirrored those of my ancestors in the garden of Eden. I hid and then I tried to fix my nakedness. I dug around some of my favorite Christian resources, seeking to find something on this topic. I found this blog post on Desiring God. The author wanted to encourage young Christians in their walk with the Lord. I’m not exactly a young Christian, but I am a wobbly infant in Christ (less than a year and a half). The author points at something I never considered in overcoming temptation and fighting sins. He says, “sin is conquered by bigger loves, not by bigger muscles.” All this time I’ve been praying for self-control when according to the author I need to love God more than I love sin”.

That one thought started the ball to rolling in my mind.Had my love for the Lord gone cold? Was this gluttony or idolatry? Was I trying to serve two masters at once; my appetite and God? In my defiance to honor God with food, had I made the choice which of the two I would serve?

I can still remember those first few months after Christ, the eagerness, and excitement. I remember those hours I spent reading the Bible. How every verse evoked sheer unbelief. I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with all the new discoveries. I discovered that I was deeply loved. I discovered I was chosen and appointed. I discover that my life had real meaning and purpose. And that somehow I was really precious to God. It was a time marked by many changes in my life, from depression to joy. A life of futility to a life upheld by God’s eternal purposes.

Somehow I’ve lost my way along the way. Which led to me placing my affections on food, and inwardly feeling like God had arrested my life instead of redeeming it.

My weak flame for Christ had made a domino effect in my life. From my church attendance to personal worship, even down to my time in the Word. I’m sure that it even affected my personal relationships. Seeing the dangers hidden in possessing a low burning fire for God, I felt compelled to make a list.

How to Keep Your Torch Burning Bright for Christ

1.Prayer

We can do nothing apart from God. We need to confess our lack of devotion so He can heal us. We need God to remind us what stirs up our love for Him. And also what has the ability to diminish our love for Him. What extinguishes our desire for Him may be improperly positioned friendships or relationships. The content we watch on TV or the Internet. Sports. The music we listen to may also be the culprit. While none of these things are inherently evil, we are counseled to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23).

2.Remembering the Things You Did Before

Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. (Rev 2:5)

It sounds pretty simple, but this was the advice our Lord gave to the church in Ephesus. The problem wasn’t in the activities of the church in Ephesus, but that they had ceased doing them. What have you ceased doing? Do it again!

3. The Bible

I couldn’t compile this without the word of God. Scriptures are of essential importance because they focus our mind completely on the Lord. We are so often busy and so easily distracted, that God doesn’t become our sole focus. In the Bible we learn more about who God is, correcting our often incorrect thinking of God. We set our eyes on His promises. And too like Moses God allows His glory to pass before our very eyes. It’s only when our minds are on Him, that we find perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).

4. Worship

Nothing re-aligns our affections more than worship. In worship, we loudly sing, “Lord I give You the praise, not the gifts You’ve given me.” The truth is we are wired to sing praises and to worship, but if not unto God then onto who? Worship keeps the King on the throne of our hearts. Yet, beloved let us not chase our feelings in worship. We don’t worship to match the last experience we had with God, we worship Him because He is worthy. It’s often through worship that we are reminded of His eternal worthiness. We become aware that out of all the things the Lord has wrought for us, we get to worship Him.

5. The Cross

How often do we forget about what Christ suffered for us? At the cross is where we found Him, we shouldn’t hope to leave there. Pity parties and self-righteousness both loses their grip when we see Him who could rightly partake in pity. When we see Him who is truly righteous, alone. We are reminded at the cross of the great love that we are loved with. It’s only then that we can muster up love and offer it to our Savior.

Saints, take fresh courage. Mourn for your sin and confess them to God, and believe you are forgiven. Remind yourself that Jesus Christ died for this sin as well, and love Him even more. Stand in awe of the mercy and steadfast love of the Lord. Thank God that you have a love that will not let you go. For the sake of suffering Servant, enjoy God. Jesus decreased from glory to humanity, from heaven to earth. He dwelled in the womb of a woman and was born completely helpless so that He could help us. He grew up in obscurity and surely didn’t live a lavish life. He wasn’t arrested, flogged, and hung for you to believe that you are not forgiven. Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength (Luke 10:27), and fight to set your heart on things above and not on the perishing things below (Colossians 3:2).

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

Meditations on Suffering

God is “a very present help in trouble.” But He permits trouble to pursue us, as though He were indifferent to its overwhelming pressure, that we may be brought to the end of ourselves, and led to discover the treasure of darkness, the unmeasurable gains of tribulation. We may be sure that He who permits the suffering is with us in it. It may be that we shall see Him only when the trial is passing, but we must dare to believe that He never leaves the crucible. Our eyes are holden, and we cannot behold Him whom our soul loveth. It is dark–the bandages blind us so that we cannot see the form of our High Priest; but He is there, deeply touched. Let us not rely on feeling, but on faith in His unswerving fidelity; and though we see Him not, let us talk to Him. Directly we begin to speak to Jesus, as being literally present, though His presence is veiled, there comes an answering voice which shows that He is in the shadow, keeping watch upon His own. Your Father is as near when you journey through the dark tunnel as when under the open heaven! –Daily Devotional Commentary

I love devotional writings from the old Saints. This is from Streams in The Deserts a devotional that complies its contents from other devotionals, sermons, poems, and hymns. I have bolded what I want to journal about.

God allows things in my life that will bring me to end of myself so I can stop being reliant on myself. I’m been thinking so much about suffering lately. So much! God has been gracious leading me to wonderful writings and teachings about it all. I’ve been listening to a lot of Elisabeth Elliot’s teaching lately. I like her frankness and how her teachings bend me to be surrendered and submitted to God’s will for my life.

I’ve also been meditating on Psalm 131 and reading a lot of commentaries on this particular psalm. The psalm is about David comparing himself to an infant who is either weaned from his mother’s milk or who has just been fed. It’s about quietly trusting God. I have been an infant before God but usually a wailing infant. Full of questions and with my fists balled up. This infant, however, is calm and quiet. This is how David describes his soul, as a baby quiet and satisfied with its mother’s care. He also talks about how he isn’t arrogant nor does he try to understand the things of God. I can’t help but think about the account Jesus put a child in the midst of Himself and His bickering disciples(Matt 18:1; Mark 9:34). They were arguing about who was to be the greatest in the kingdom of God. Jesus said that anyone who would make himself as the child in Jesus’s hands would be the greatest in heaven.

God allows the suffering, and He never leaves us in it by ourselves. I think about the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. God permitted this predicament and sent someone or Himself from heaven to be in the furnace with them.

“Let us not rely on feelings but on faith”- The devotional writer (Dr. Lawrence Richards) writes that although we can’t see God in our trials doesn’t mean He isn’t there.

No one wants to suffer, but no child of God suffers alone. God has graced me for this journey into suffering. He’s discerned my thoughts from afar and answered my lingering questions. I’ve been through the ‘why’s’ and I’m now at a place of, ‘okay’ and growing a peace about it.

I had been fearful about the future knowing suffering was involved in it. But, I lay down those fears and eat the slice of bread given to me by God and let tomorrow’s troubles not worry or discourage me today.

Lastly, Saints let us not believe in a Gospel that doesn’t include our crosses and suffering. There is only one true Gospel of Jesus Christ of course. But there are many man-made ideologies about a God who either wants you to have every earthly reward (prosperity gospel). And, when we lack Bible reading and comprehension we tend to make our own god. The only way we can ever hope to know the one, true living God is to read His word. We can believe in a god of our own making or believe in the God of the Bible.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

My Favorite Apps +Links

 

It’s been on my mind and heart for the past week to share a list of Bible study resources, apps and podcasts alike. There are a lot of dark alleys on the Intenet, but there are also amazing and edifying resources for Christians. I’ve been saved for well over a year, and this is just a small compilation of my go-to resources, blogs, and mobile applications. I pray that it will help you and on your journey to grow in your love and knowledge of God.

Must-Have Apps

  • Holy Bible (YouVersion) -This application offers many modern translations, free devotionals and the ability to take notes and makes it easy to share the word of God on any social platform.
  • Blue Letter Bible iPhone|Android– This application is best for when you desire to study the Word and not just read it. BLB includes commentaries (text and audio), dictionaries, and makes it easy to look up words in Hebrew or Greek.
  • Logos iPhone|Android -Another app that is designed for intense Bible study. This application also has a desktop companion app that is even more extensive. When you are seeking to dive yet even deeper this the app for you. While the app can be a bit overwhelming it is also rewarding.
  • CC&RC iPhone|Android– It was until recently that I’ve learned about catechisms and creeds of the early Church. A catechism is a summary of Christian principles in the form of questions and answers. The questions are answered based on Scriptures. A creed is a statement or confession the old Church would recite to state their beliefs.
  • Whole Magazine iPhone|Android– This app is geared towards women of all ages. It contains daily devotionals, and also contains edifying blog post. The drive behind this website/ app is to give women a desire to know sound doctrine and theology (the study of God).
  • Revive Our Hearts– is an app that includes the blog posts and the amazing podcast. This app always has something new to read or listen to.
  • SermonAudio– This app is exactly what it sounds like, an app to listen/watch to various sermons from Pastors all around the world. You can peruse the huge collections by topics and even down to the exact Bible verse. (I believe that most of these sermons teach sound doctrine, yet we all should be using discernment. That means opening your Bible and making sure that what is be preached is the word of God.

 

Favorite Bible Study Resources:

This list includes links to help supplement our knowledge of God.

Favorite Blogs:

Were you familiar with the links I’ve shared? What are some of your own personal favorites that didn’t make me list? ||Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

 

Discernment

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4(NIV)

The ‘time’ that Paul warned his son in the faith, Timothy is here now. The first thing we need to address when it comes to discernment is our own innate desires to want to hear anything but the truth. The people Paul warned Timothy about, is you and me. We have a desire to want to hear things that we crave. In the Old Testament, God frequently sent His prophets to awake and warn God’s people to turn back to Him. What most (if not all) of the people did was go and find their own false prophets to tell them what they wanted to hear. They didn’t want to turn from their own ways. They didn’t want to hear what the Holy One of Israel had to say (Isaiah 30:11).

We’re a lot like those people God lead out of Egypt. The people who grumbled, rebelled, idolatrous, and who were prone to forget God and His commandments. God may not have led us out of a country, yet we can put our hand to the plow and look back (Luke 9:62). We may not eat angels’ food, yet we can fuss over God’s provision. We are just as likely to buck up against God’s authority, as they did often in the wilderness.

Too like our ancestors, there are shepherds around us that could care less about our souls. We need to be quite careful about what church we choose to attend, and what online sermons we listen to. There are men and women who aren’t rightly handling the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). Rather this is done intentionally or they just don’t understand the weight of the responsibility; is difficult to know. But what is known is that they are leading many astray, by the thousands, and even by the millions. These people usually have a significant reach, since their following is so huge.

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11

God has not left us to defenseless, we have His Spirit dwelling within us and we have Scriptures. We should be decided that no matter who is behind the pulpit, we will open our Bibles and see if what they are saying lines up with Scripture. It’s not wrong for us to have a natural skepticism toward any teacher of the Word. There is much at hand, our own soul. Spoken words have a way of dwelling in us, hours and days after they’ve been spoken. Are we allowing lies to dwell in us? Are we trusting mere man more than we trust God’s ability to reveal His nature and His will found in Scriptures? Are we believing that online sermons and devotionals exist so that we don’t have to read the Bible for ourselves? Are we satisfied with the insight and wisdom that someone else has gained through reading Scriptures? Are we replacing the word of Truth, for music, quick devotionals, and video sermons?

Child of God, the Bible is for you. It’s not only for a class or group of supposed ‘saved and sanctified Christians’. Don’t assign God’s seal to just anyone standing behind a pulpit. Don’t assume they have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them. And, don’t forget Christ is the example you follow and the only standard.

There were many images of teachers and preachers that came to mind, while I was typing this blog. Yet, the purpose of this post wasn’t to expose those who I believe may do some of the Body, more harm than good. The purpose of this post is to awake/ invite/remind the people in Christ to use that beautiful mind they’ve been given. To guard their ears and hearts from unsound doctrine. And, to depend on the Holy Spirit to expose those whom He isn’t familiar with. To bring our favorite preachers and teachers to God, and to seek His counsel in prayer. And, to lastly dig into the Word for ourselves. And, not to depend on second-hand revelation and insight. What some of us have been guilty of is watching someone else bite into a burger and describe the taste on their tongues. Yet, God invites us to taste and see (Ps. 34:8).

Are we following certain preachers and teachers because we like their personality? Do we listen to sermons because the teachers are , ‘our friends in our heads’? Do we follow them because they are following Christ? Are we following them because we like what they post on Instagram? Are we downloading their sermons because we like their fashion style? Are we watching because they are ‘cute’? While these questions seem like things I would ask a bunch of teenagers and not the body of Christ. We are susceptible to following pastors and teachers for all the wrong reasons.

Do they stir up your affections for God? Do they consistently point you toward Him? Do they actually teach the Word? When they are behind pulpit are they mostly speaking about God or about themselves? Do they make the Word of God even more exciting? Do their sermons ever convict you to the point of repentance? Does their teaching make you understand a passage more than you did before? Does their preaching persuade you to pursue godliness?

Proper teaching simply explains what the Word says, and doesn’t add meaning to Word.

There are several ministries that self-exalting and not Christ-exalting. In other words, they have a lot to say about humans and not much to say about the Creator of them. Their sermons are designed to put the spotlight on us while pulling God out when we need His strength. They teach that God is perpetually a genie and not the sovereign Most High God.They not only malign the true meaning of Scripture, they ascribe false attributes to God.

When we believe the wrong things about God, it is quite hurtful. It takes a divine revelation and time to undo our false theology. False teaching can run rapidly like weeds in a garden. It does not only affect our beliefs but our communion with God. It can prevent true worship because worship of God requires truth. God often has to deal with this by cutting it at its root.

There was a time I thought being skeptical about teachers of the Word, was expressing meanness. Yet if false teaching can affect our hearts, shouldn’t we then guard ourselves with all diligence (Pro 4:23)? I believe and know that God is pleased when we are Bereans and we examine the Scriptures for ourselves. We are all called to teach the word of God on some scale, so God expects us to rightly understand His truth as well. There are many warnings and examples of false prophets/teachers in the Bible. You don’t need my blog or any blog on the web to give you advice on how to spot false teachers because you have God’s Spirit and His word. A concordance or a topical Bible study will be extremely helpful. And if you struggle with not having a desire to read the Bible, pray about it- consistently. A desire for the Word happens when we are praying about it. I can assure you that it is extremely rewarding.

Helpful links:

Why You Should Read The Bible

When you don’t feel like reading your Bible

#Frustrated:Bible Tips

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

 

#Frustrated:Bible Tips

 

This past week my frustrated feelings had me putting the Bible to the side. I was frustrated that I couldn’t understand any Scriptures that I was reading at the time. Even with prayer and spending time on a passage I couldn’t get a clue. I felt dejected and I stopped trying. I had just recently came off of a high of God giving me a revelation in Scriptures. And, I felt that my Bible study session had to be at that same level continually. A “successful” session included lots of  journaling, marking and highlighting in my Bible. And it included me having something to post on Social Media. Both of these were signs that my session proved fruitful.

Then after a couple of days the  Holy Spirit led me to the website of Jen Wilkin. She’s an author and teaches women’s Bible study. In one of her online studies I was looking through I found this quote in the introduction: “The first several times you read a passage you will probably be confused. This is a good thing. Allow yourself to feel lost, to dwell in the ‘I don’t know’. It will make the moment of discovery stick.” This was just the encouragement that I needed. Whenever I felt lost in the Scriptures I would be inwardly bewildered and give up altogether. Certainly this is some sort of pride within myself. If noted Preachers, Teachers and Theologians have to take their time to meditate on Scriptures,so would I.

Often times I brought a me-centered thinking into my study sessions: ‘What does God want to say to me, today? What will fill me up today? What will give me what I need today?’ Yet, friends the Bible is not about us-it’s about God.

The Bible is a recorded history of the brilliance of the one true living God.

Whenever we open our Bibles getting to know our King should be our main objective. There is nothing wrong in having goals when we open our Bibles, yet learning more about God should be our main goal.

Saints, every study session doesn’t have to move us emotionally. God wants our heart yet, we have to separate from the belief that every minute in the Word should stir us up. The truth is you will have days where every word evokes emotions. Yet, everyday will not be like the former. I remember telling a friend, “oh, I stop reading I just wasn’t getting anything out of it.” While madly selfish, I’m sure I’m not the only to flip through the pages of the Bible looking for my “personalized” word. God often chooses to lead us to a chapter or passage that will give us the counsel the times may demand. Yet, if He doesn’t that doesn’t mean our time in the Word is ever in vain.

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:2-3

We should rather frame our minds in light of 1 Peter 2:2, Scriptures is for our growth. If you have children or your around children these are a group of people who are constantly growing. We may not be able to always see their growth, but we know that they are growing. Well often times we close our Bibles not feeling changed, but we are increasingly growing up into our salvation. When we learn more about God, secondarily we learn more about ourselves.

So, if like me you’ve felt challenged in your time with the Word. Don’t feel discouraged when you are lost. Your confusion says nothing about you, rather it says everything about God’s Word. If thinking about who God is and His various activities bring us to awe, how much more will His Word bewilder us?! God wants our hearts but he also wants our minds (Luke 10:27). So when we are lost or challenged in Scriptures we should not be dismayed. Just because you’ve closed your Bible not understanding everything you’ve just read, doesn’t mean that God won’t choose to unfold His truth at a later time. We need to trust a good God with our time in His Word. That He is still a God who rewards those who seek Him. So, Saints be of good courage as I lead us out with a prayer:

Lord, I firstly want to thank you for your good Word, and I pray that you will continue to give me a desire for you Word. I ask that you would increase my understanding as well. Oh, Lord I just want to know more about you. God I know your Word has many layers of treasures, and that I can never reach full understanding. Lord, I pray to seek You in Your word and nothing else. Lord, I pray for patience in Your word when it doesn’t come easy for me. Thank you for teaching me that although it doesn’t come easy, it is nonetheless rewarding. Thank you for humbling and reminding me Who should be the object of my hunt. I shouldn’t seek for a reassuring verse or something to post online, but my heart should be fixed on seeking You. Thank You for this sweet reminder. Amen.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.