Four Things To Look Out For While Reading The Bible

I don’t know any other topic I am consistently passionate about other than the Bible. I want to see every child, woman, and man to grab a hold of the Bible and not let go. To look and look at their Maker until they resemble His likeness. But with that said I thought it was important to note how to be watchful of ourselves when we read our Bibles.

1. Studying Or Reading The Bible Doesn’t Earn God’s Love.

God’s love is perfect so there is nothing that we can do to add or take away from that love. I wish I could say that this is a lie that I only believed when I first had saving faith in Christ. But it is a lie I am inclined to believe this to this very day. I realized only once I got saved that I have a performance streak in me. I wanted to prove just how lovable I could be to this God. And the other side of that coin was that when I knew in myself that I was wholly unlovable, I sank into the pit of despair. This takes reminding ourselves of the Gospel every day. We may not read a chapter of the New Testament every day. But we must repeat the Gospel to ourselves with intentionality.

For example:

“God accepts and loves me because of Jesus Christ. I have experienced the great exchange with Jesus. He has received the punishment, separation from the Father, and death that my sins deserved. And I have received His righteousness. I am a child of God and He is jealous for me.”

We can spend hours in the Bible or we can spend minutes, His love will not change for us. But also I think Jen Wilkin said it best, “The heart can’t love what the mind does not know”.

Scripture reading is so good for our souls. It makes obedience look good and sin look bad. It anchors our often troubled souls. We have a new need for God’s truth every single day that we awake. We love the Word so that we may love God more and keep His commands not that He will love us. He already does, He loved us even while we were His enemies (Romans 5:8). How amazing is that! And we are no longer His enemies we are His children.

2. That Any Truth Gleaned Is Revealed To Us By God

It didn’t take long for the sin of pride to grip my heart when reading the Word. At one point every time I would open the Bible I would discover so much truth that I began to believe the lie that it was my wisdom that had garnered these truths. God quickly responded to this by showing me that it wasn’t within myself that I had gleaned these truths. In those following days the Bible that was opened up to me like an oyster was shut tight and I couldn’t make it open to me. The Holy Spirit soon convicted me and I repented. I’ve always fancied myself to be bright, and I thought that explained why I understood so much of the Bible. When in all actuality it was my Teacher, the Holy Spirit who gave me these truths. Now I come to the Word as humbly as I can, with lots of prayer. I believe that those days where I don’t understand certain passages of the text reminds me just how dependent I am on God to understand His Word.

3. Searching Scriptures Only To Find A ‘Word’ For The Day.

I get it, I do, sometimes we just have to make a beeline for the book of Psalms. The toil of everyday living or the storms of life have us going to and fro, and we need to be anchored in God’s truth. But I often would come to the Bible so weary that I wasn’t trying to learn about God, I just wanted to be assured that it would all be alright. I looked intently for the verse that could speak into my life that day. Instead of looking for the attributes of the God that never changes.

The Bible is about God, period. We do gain insight into who we are or into human nature by reading the Word. But if we come to the Bible only to look for ourselves we are cheating ourselves.

I think for a while I didn’t realize that seeing various attributes or the character of God could anchor my troubled soul as well. This God whom Enoch walked with, I walk with today. The God that was faithful to David will be faithful to me. I had no idea that what I needed the most was to see God, and not myself.

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.” – Corrie Ten Boom

I usually sneak a line or two in my prayer before reading the Word. For example:

“Lord, clear any ill-motivations that I may have for coming to Your Word.”

Some wrong reasons that I’ve come to the Bible include:

  • To share something on social media.
  • To check Scripture reading off my to-do list.

In themselves neither of these reasons are sinful. It is good to use our platforms to make much of God. And Scripture reading is a spiritual discipline that needs to be on our list of daily priorities. But because of the sin in our hearts any good thing can be perverted and twisted.

I may only be sharing to gain some vainglory for myself, or to make much of myself and not Christ. This is a problem. I may get so caught up in scratching meeting with God off my list that I don’t ask Him give me a desire for His Word. Or I don’t ask Him to bring revival into my heart. And even more importantly I don’t repent of these feelings. I know that the word of God is sweeter than honey (Psalm 19:10;119:103). So when I can’t taste the sweetness there is something wrong with my taste buds. And this too is a problem

4. That Reading God’s Commands Are More Important Than Keeping Them.

God prizes obedience to His commands over our own knowledge of them. All through Scriptures God tells us over and over again that keeping His commands is what really matters to Him. He told it to King Saul by way of the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 15:22). Jesus spoke about the man who built his house on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27). And James warned us not to be hearers only but to be doers of God’s word (James 1:22).

The blessing comes in the doing not in the knowing.

This took me a while to grasp. I certainly know the miserableness of knowing better and not doing better. I think on some level we all do going through this lifelong process of sanctification. God has given us a portion that He knew we could handle. He’s given us today, and to practice the truth we’ve attained (Philippians 3:16)

Last Things

Even though I present these four things to look out for while reading the Bible, let us not cease to press on to know God. Meeting with God is more important than anything else we can do. Let us still put that important meeting on the top of our lists. Let us still come to the Word weary-hearted. Finally, let us be watchful but let us not stop gleaning from God’s enduring Word.

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.

Advertisements

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace

I think it is safe to safe to say that most people know the words of this famous hymn written by Mrs. Helen Lemmel. Some have even sung it while silently praying that they would no longer be held captive by the world and the many things in it. What even those people may not know is that the chorus of this hymn was inspired by the words of a woman by the name of  I.Lilias Trotter.

“Never has it been so easy to live in half a dozen harmless worlds at once — art, music, social science, games, motoring, the following of some profession, and so on. And between them, we run the risk of drifting about, the good hiding the best. It is easy to find out whether our lives are focused, and if so, where the focus lies. Where do our thoughts settle when consciousness comes back in the morning? Where do they swing back when the pressure is off during the day? Dare to have it out with God, and ask Him to show you whether or not all is focused on Christ and His Glory. Turn your soul’s vision to Jesus, and look and look at Him, and a strange dimness will come over all that is apart from Him.”

The wording of this quote is different from how we speak today. And it was a completely different time when these words were written. But the gist of it is how effortless it is to drift in our walk with God. Also, how the good (the world) can hide the best (Christ). It can be so difficult to treasure Christ when this world is filled with “treasures”.

So how can we treasure Christ in a world filled with “treasures”? Practically speaking we can turn our eyes to Jesus by peeling our Bibles open. And then praying earnestly that God would show us His glory. That bright light that overcame darkness and the only light that can dim the light of the world. This is one of the means of grace by which we can see the worthiness of Christ. It’s only while reading our Bibles that then can we understand the reason the angels never cease to praise Him. We must consistently look to the Word so that the world will appear to us as it really is, dull and incomparable to Christ.

God delights in truth in the inward being. (Psalm 51:6)

We can be honest with God. We can weep and tell Him we know that He is the only treasure but we often get thrown off the path by little trinkets. We can tell Him that we know He is better than anything else we can behold but yet we find ourselves being held captive by lesser things. We can be honest and say that we have stopped following in His steps because of something that can’t hold a candle to Him. We are wretched things that don’t know our left hand from the right (Jonah 4:11). We know that Christ is better but we become hypnotized with various little shiny things. Our devotion to Him is like a morning dew, that quickly evaporates as it lands on the earth (Hosea 6:4). And yet, God still pursues us. He never ceases to draw us with His bands of love (Hosea 11:4). In the Bible, God says that when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). But, I have to be honest sometimes I haven’t even drawn myself near Him, and He’s already right there, near me.

When we read the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), even though Jesus isn’t saying this parable to highlight the father’s love for his son; but rather to highlight the behavior of eldest son. We can’t help but see the similarities between the son’s father and our own Father. The son had to make this one long, hard journey to his father. But I believe in our walk with God we may find ourselves needing to be embraced and kissed again. We will need to be re-robed and to have the same rings and sandals given to us again and again. But it is always better to be with the Father.

Last Things

I wanted to end this post by saying that I am so happy for the good work that God is doing in you. No one reads a blog post like this unless they’ve been drawn by God. He is doing an awesome work in your life, even though you aren’t yet where you want to be. And that is what it truly means to be a Christian, to be continually hungering and thirsting for more. A person in Christ has a ravaging appetite to be more holy and to be more like Jesus Christ. It is the good work of the Holy Spirit to point out how we are not like Him, and yet the Spirit gives us the desires to be like Him. So I am thankful for the work that the Spirit is doing within you, you can rest assured that God will complete this work and one day you will see Him as He really is (1 John 3:2). May you love the Lord with all your strength. And may you be true to the Heart that died for you.

Resources:

I am a huge fan of this podcast! It’s host Leslie Ludy is a godly woman, and I love the content she produces. This particular episode was a quick introduction to Ms. I. Lilias Trotter. I highly recommend that you check it out!

If this quote from Ms. Trotter has you wanting more, check out these links: 1, 2 and 3.

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.

Why We Can’t Lose Our Salvation

I have never undertaken writing something on my blog that may be considered ‘heady or theological’. I am totally relying on the Spirit of God dwelling in me to write about God’s truth. I know that there are some Christian denominations who hold to the belief that we can indeed lose our salvation. But the Bible doesn’t say such things. I am afraid that this school of belief is taught by man. Some even assume that if we hold on to the belief of eternal security (or that we can’t lose our salvation) we use this belief as an excuse to live a life that is full of sin. I hope to present God’s own words to you and to make a defense for why we should believe in eternal security.

I think that when someone doesn’t believe in eternal security, that in their hearts they believe that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ wasn’t sufficient. That perhaps His sacrifice wasn’t as He said it was on the cross, “finished” (John 19:30). That maybe they must work or earn some righteousness of their own in order to ‘supplement’ the perfect sacrifice. They must think that in not believing in eternal security that they live their lives in the true fear of God. I hope to present this notion as man-made beliefs and perhaps self-righteousness. Moreover, I hope to prove that the belief of eternal security is no license to sin but in that belief is the proper way to think about God.

The belief that salvation can be lost affects not only those who I’ve already addressed but also those who do believe in eternal security. Often in the dark night of the soul or once again yielding to some temptation many will give Christ the permission to give up on them. They know that their names are already written in heaven (Luke 10:20) but because of despair and hopelessness, they will feel as if their salvation and sanctification is dependent on them. I hope to refresh every soul that holds to the truth of either belief. I will show that the only thing we’ve contributed to salvation is our own sins. And that our salvation is because of the works of the Son, we are preserved by the Father and we are being sanctified by the Spirit. Salvation is an act of the Triune God alone, and that He is sufficient for all these things.

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:34 ESV *bolded for emphasis

Anyone who is Bible literate knows about the Old and New covenants made by God with His people. In the Scripture mentioned above, God is speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, he is prophesying of a new and better Covenant through the blood of Jesus Christ. In this particular Scripture, we see that the New Covenant is not like the Old, also that this covenant cannot be broken as the first one was by their forefathers. Unlike the Old Covenant where God’s law was carried in the Ark of the Covenant. In the New Covenant, His laws would be within the believer and written on their hearts. Also that they wouldn’t have to go into a temple to worship God, but that they themselves would become temples of the Holy Spirit. At the Passover when Jesus was eating with His disciples’ He broke the bread, which represented His body, and took the cup which He explained was His blood, ushering in a new and better Covenant (Luke 22:19-20).

I believe at the very heart of this belief of conditional salvation or security is disbelief and not understanding that God is sovereign. When we believe that salvation is conditional we think that God is not able to save us. We even go against the Bible, which says, ‘Christ is able to save to the uttermost’ (Hebrews 7:25). We reckon ourselves not united to Christ in His death, but that we are a hard nut to crack. In other words, we believe that we are such a challenge to God that it is impossible for Him to complete sanctification us.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

1 Peter 1:3-4  *bolded for emphasis

This belief in eternal security is not a license to abuse God’s grace. But it is one of those promises that compels us to become like God or to share in His divine nature. In fact, anyone who believes that their eternal salvation is an excuse to sin may need to do some self-examination. Because those who are God’s children though they may sin and yield to temptations cannot live a life of sin (1 John 3:9).

If you are yet not fully convinced that anyone’s salvation can’t be lost I ask you these questions:

1. Do you believe that God can lose His grip or that anyone can snatch away from His hand (John 10:28)?

2.Do you think that God cannot keep you even to end (1 Corinthians 1:8: 1 Thessalonians 5:23)?

3. Do you believe that God’s purposes of saving you can be thwarted ( Job 42:2; Isaiah 14:27; Proverbs 16:1)?

4. If God saved Paul (Acts 9) who called himself, ‘the chief of sinners’ (1 Timothy 1:5), why do you believe that God is unable to complete the good work He has started in you (Philippians 1:6)?

5.Do you believe that anything in the Bible hints at the fact that God doesn’t keep His promises?

Prayer: Lord while I don’t feel quite sufficient to write this post, and I am almost sure I didn’t mention everything pertaining to this topic. You, however, are sufficient for all these things. I ask that you would give these readers ears to hear. And give their souls rest from the busy work of self-righteousness. Say to their souls that, ‘I am your salvation’ (Psalm 35:3). Show them that the basis of salvation is dependent totally on You, on Your character and Your power. I say this prayer in the only name under heaven that saves us (Acts 4:12) and gives us true life, Jesus. Amen.

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.