How Do You Respond In Trials?

“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭1:20-22‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This was Job’s response to losing his 10 children and all that he owned.

“But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This was Job’s response to being struck with horrible boils that covered his whole body.

I remember reading Job’s response to suffering right after going through a trial and suffering a bit of my own. Reading how Job worshipped the Lord and didn’t accuse Him of evil was far different than how I responded. I was ashamed when I compared my response to (lesser) suffering to Job’s (greater) suffering. As Asaph admitted in Psalm 73, I too was a beast toward God (Ps. 73:22). I accused God so frequently I have to imagine Satan was able to take a break. And when God didn’t hasten to answer my prayers and thus release me from the same trial, I ignored God. I figured,” well since He is ignoring my prayers, I will return the favor.”

By ignoring the communion of prayer and the Word which is the sword of the Spirit, I neglected all hope of fighting the good fight of faith.

I realized that I have need of spiritual fortitude. I also realized that though I would scoff at someone else’s belief in the “prosperity gospel”, my reaction seemed to reflect that I believed being a Christ follower would exempt me of hardships.

More recently I went through a trial where I did absolutely struggle to believe in the wisdom and goodness of God. Yet, I struggled with God rather than apart from Him.

I clung to God. I looked to His Word. I fought to believe what I know already to be true. That God is good and that He is most wise.

“For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.”

‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:31-33‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I kept coming to the Scripture above, that spoke a better word to my heart. It showed me the goodness and tenderness of my God in black and white.

God isn’t far off in our trials. He only seems far off if we neglect to seek Him. God isn’t rejoicing in our lamenting. God cares for us. And wants the best for us (Hebrews 12:10).

 

To bless the God whom we know could halt or prevent our suffering is not an easy task. But it is a worthy one.

Dear suffering one, go to the throne of mercy! Pray that you may bless God in your trial and rejoice in your suffering. Pray that God may extend His sufficient grace so that you may persevere. Pray that He may give you a song in the night (Job 35:10). Go to the Word to see what Christ has won for you. Go to the Word and be reminded that this trial-permitting and ordaining God careth for you. Be strong in the strength of His might (Eph. 6:10).

If we but look forward to heaven, an eternity without worry or woe in our suffering, that is God making good. If we but treasure Christ a bit more than we did before, that is God making good. If we are a bit more tender and merciful, like our God, He indeed is making good. God is always up to good, even in our trials.

 

Take heart suffering one, Christ has overcome the world.

 

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I’m A Holy Roller

First let me address what a holy roller is, I found this definition on the Urban Dictionary– Holy Roller: Generally, refer to one who attends a charismatic church service. In which places a great amount of importance on the Holy Spirit. This person tends to be a very devout Christian and during church service, maybe become influenced heavily by the Holy Spirit. Therefore consequently dropping on the floor and rolling “in the Spirit” Hence where the term was coined, Holy Roller. Also generally is a derogatory term.

“Sometimes the word Holy Roller is used more loosely today to refer to anyone who believes the Bible is true, who claims to be an evangelical, or who talks about God in public.” (source)

Most people who use the word today are not speaking about the worship services of certain Christian denominations, but are rather speaking about someone who is a devout Christian. And when they use the word, ‘holy roller’ it is indeed a derogatory word.

So when I say I am a holy roller, what I mean is that I am both a Christian privately and publicly. My religion isn’t a few visits to a local church, but it is a part of my very being.

I believe sin and demonic forces constantly attempt to sway us into believing that being holy isn’t good or acceptable. Or even that we will never reach a place where we can describe ourselves as holy. Often we are shamed by our past sins that prevent us from using the word ‘holy’ to describe anything about our lifestyles. When we are plagued by the fear of man, or when we evaluate ourselves through the eyes others; we are timid to be bold about our faith. We would rather offend our Savior than to offend our neighbor. We would rather be ashamed of the Gospel than to persecuted for it. The term ‘holy roller’ is designed to shame and shush our faith in the Son of God.

“For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground.”Leviticus 11:44 ESV

“but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”1 Peter 1:15-16 ESV

It is very clear all throughout Scriptures that God expects His saints to pursue holiness. We are called to be like God rather you are reading in the Old or the New Testament. Though we (whosoever is in Christ) are included in the New Covenant through Jesus Christ’s own blood. Even in the Old Covenant God put in place laws and boundaries so that the Israelites could also be holy.

The message that the world or culture pushes out is that you can be unholy and ungodly and yet spend an eternity with a holy God that you don’t even know.

But the flock of God shouldn’t be surprised by the world’s messages or even about being made to be a laughingstock. Our Good Shepherd has been kind enough to warn us. In the book of James, it says not to be surprised by our trials, but we should neither be surprised when our faith is mocked. The only reason Cain murdered his brother Abel is that his own works were unrighteous. All throughout Scriptures we see God’s people being mocked and maligned. Why should things be any different for us today?

The Challenge

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”Matthew 5:10-12 ESV

I would like to challenge all of God’s sheep to not dodge persecution in order to keep anyone’s approval. Let’s keep our minds on that handsome reward that is laid up for us in heaven. Love your neighbors’ as we are commanded to but don’t idolize their acceptance of you. You already belong to God’s family and have been embraced by the Everlasting Arms. Don’t be afraid to pursue holiness privately and publicly. What a privilege we have to share in God’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Holiness isn’t bad, it is a higher good. Remind yourself, and your neighbors that without holiness no one can see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

My sinful heart too has been gripped by the fear of man, ever since I can remember.

‘What will they think of me?’

‘What if they reject me?’

People who know me would describe my attitude or personality as being “sweet or kind”. But honestly I was kind to everyone not to love them well but so that they would love and accept me. I’m afraid that I won’t wake up anytime soon and no longer weigh myself through the eyes of others. So what I must do is remind myself (often) that I am acceptable to God through Christ, loved by the Son that laid down His life for me and that I belong to the Most High God. Since it is my default to seek praise and approval from mere mortals, I have to be intentional about rehearsing the truth to myself and also saturating myself in Scriptures that remind me of the truth and all of God’s blessed promises.

“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”1 Peter 4:16 ESV

The incorrigible thing about sin is that it distorts all of God’s good designs. We are not to fear men, we were created to fear God. Shame is good if it turns us away from our sins, but not if it turns us away from suffering with Christ. We are encouraged to glorify God when we are mocked or called “holy rollers” and not be mortified. We are to be glad and rejoice when persecuted not sad and discouraged. I wish I could recommend something that will undo the doing of sin. But what I can offer is the hope of the Gospel and that one day we will not have to deal with sin. But until that day we have to fight the sin that wants to kill us. We have to share our faith with fear and trembling. We have to train ourselves (through reading Scriptures) how to perceive offense or persecution. Not that we seek it out but that when it happens we will know why it’s happening and how to deal with it.

The Word of God says that we are blessed when persecuted and not cursed. We have to tell our souls that this is a good thing.

Yet we are not called to be stoicism we can weep to our God. After all, God is the Father of all our mercies and of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Prayer

Lord, I pray that the person reading this may be cut to the heart (Acts 2:38-39) and yet Lord let them not despair in their conviction. I pray Almighty God that you will give them the grace to suffer well for Christ’s sake. Lord, if they are in anyway hiding their lamp underneath their beds, Lord fill them with such zeal for you and your renown. God, I thank you for not quenching a dimly lit wick. Help them to be zealous for you and uphold them with a willing spirit. I pray Lord make them willing to obey You, willing to strive for holiness, willing to suffer offense or persecution on behalf of Your Son. I say this prayer in His 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.

Where The Rubber Meets The Road

This week has been interesting, to say the least. It started off with comparison gripping my heart. I was just scrolling on Instagram and all of a sudden I see a sister in Christ, celebrating something I had prayed for and had not yet received. Instagram has been a blessing in my life but also a stumbling block. I love to encourage women, men, anyone who follows me with God’s truth. I feel really useful in God’s kingdom because of the content I create and share on Instagram.

I think social media and blogging as a whole gives me the ability to use the gifts that God has given me for the body of Christ.

Comparison for me is like when someone hits the lights in a bug-infested home, they all come out and scatter. I get thundered with comparisons, questions, and accusations toward God. I loathe the fact that rejoicing with others isn’t something that I do well. I consider my lot and I am intensely infuriated by the fact that I even dare to compare myself to anyone else. It is the absolute worst. I know these comparisons, questions, and accusations are all lies but I can’t stop myself from believing them. I get so angry that I want to delete the app or take a break from it altogether. I become convinced that if I didn’t have an Instagram account I wouldn’t be dealing with comparisons. My frustrations with dealing with comparison reminded me of the depression I had dealt with before Christ. I was so depressed and there wasn’t a “reason” for it in the world. Back then I didn’t know that you could be depressed and have no reason for those feelings. I didn’t know about chemical imbalances in the brain that cause depression. But that’s how it feels to compare my life to others. There is nothing wrong with what God has given me, but I couldn’t find it in myself to be thankful for any of it.

Then I started to slowly but surely drift away from God. I wasn’t peeling open my Bible nor was I praying at all. And if I did it was quick and my requests were for others and not myself. At a certain point, I started to believe that God was angry with me for not reading my Bible and for not praying. It’s moments like this where my performance streak sneaks up on me. If I thought that God was angry with me because I stopped doing spiritual disciplines, then I must really believe that those things are what makes me acceptable to Him; and not the sacrifice of His Son. I fell in this slump of self-pity and overindulging in things to pacify or reward myself.

What I did was lie down in the biggest battle that I continue to have, for my mind. It felt like I had left the house in the biggest rainstorm. The lies thundered in my head, and I had drifted away from the only anecdote, God’s truth. I cannot ignore the spiritual realities of what I was dealing with. The accuser’s lies were so swift and so fast that they pushed me off a ledge. I felt I couldn’t win the battle. I felt I couldn’t hold every thought captive. It felt overwhelming and I did all I knew how to do, which is cower and raise my white flag.

I titled this entry, “Where the rubber meets the road” because we all will go through these storms and we need to hide the word of God in our hearts before the surging waters. By God’s grace, I’ve always been pretty consistent spending time in His Word. But in that storm (due to me drifting away from time in the Word) I was bone dry. I had some remnants of scriptures in my heart, but not enough to survive that level of a storm. While you are in a storm or a trial, is not the time to slacken on spending time in God’s Word. You will feel so weary but you still need to hide the Word in your heart.

We read God’s word so we can know Him, and worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). We are also commanded to love Him with our mind (Luke 10:27). But also when we have to walk out in the worst rainstorms. These storms or trials are different from person to person. But God permits these for a very grand purpose, so that we may know Him better. Think about what Job said in response to his own sufferings:

“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and I repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6

Job says he had some amount of knowledge of God but through his sufferings, he came to know God more deeply.

Friends, when you go through storms don’t assume that God is unable to snatch you out of them. But lest we forget that suffering, storms, and trials produce a needful fruit within us that sunny days cannot.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

The next time we face a storm we will endure longer and we won’t give up so soon. We have been given the privilege to not just believe in Christ but also to suffer with Him (Phil 1:29). So, our quiet time isn’t just to stir our hearts or more importantly to renew our minds. But also help us to face the storm, hand in hand with other believers and following behind our great Shepherd.

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.

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.

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.

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.