Dear, Troubled Disciple


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Am A Self-Entitled Christian

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Keep Your Torch Burning Bright for Christ.


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

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

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

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

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

How to Keep Your Torch Burning Bright for Christ

1.Prayer

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

2.Remembering the Things You Did Before

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

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

3. The Bible

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

4. Worship

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

5. The Cross

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

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

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

Meditations on Suffering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discernment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Helpful links:

Why You Should Read The Bible

When you don’t feel like reading your Bible

#Frustrated:Bible Tips

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

 

#Frustrated:Bible Tips

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pride and Asking for Help

 

I have a jar of peanut butter still waiting to be opened and enjoyed, all because I could not open it. And, I was much too prideful to receive help from my Dad, who I share a home with. The reason I bring this up is because I was sitting here minding my own business studying Luke 7+8. I reached for help in the form of a commentary on Luke 8.

Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,  and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. (Luke 8:1-3)

What I took from this was, that Jesus loved women who were (at that time) seen as void and inferior without a husband or children.But, David Guzik noted something else how this list of women provided for Jesus’s ministry. Then Guzik goes on to mention:

“Many of us are too proud to receive help from others. But sometimes the ability to humbly receive is a better measure of Jesus in our lives than the ability to give. Giving often puts us in a higher place, but receiving may put us in a lower place.”

It is amazing and yet frustrating how my issues in relation to people, bubble up to the top in my relationship with God. Time, after time. I suppose the Lord wants me to confront my issues and not dodge them, as I would desire to. I’ve recently came from under a dark period of 2-3 days where I was dismayed by God’s steadfast love for me. This wasn’t something that stemmed from gratitude, but I was almost attempting to excuse God from His devotion. It was dark. I know there is nothing God could garner from our relationship. I resented the fact that I was a constant receiver, and I could give Him nothing at all. God rescued me from that pit of darkness, as He had done before.

I have no problem with giving, now since Christ. But, I still struggle with receiving help. This issue with me is so deep, I can remember being in grade school; digging through my backpack the entire class because I was too proud to ask for a pencil from a schoolmate. I knew I didn’t have it, but I would rather tirelessly rumble through my backpack than to burden a classmate. I remember as an adult when people extended kindness to me, I would hurriedly return it. It was like kindness from others was some sort of debt I didn’t want to have lingering.

I will cook dinner and wash the dishes, yet I won’t ask my Dad for assistance with a jar of peanut butter. Pride. Before Christ, I dealt with depression bordering on having suicidal thoughts. Yet, because of pride I would not seek help or share my burdens with anyone. I’ve also feared to be a burden to people when I was grieving the loss of my Mother. So, I never shared all the things that I felt or feared.

I assume you are much like me, you will freely give yet scarcely take. That you’d rather not have the “debt” of kindness lingering around. Do something radical today, ask someone for help. We often know how good it feels to give to someone else. So, give that amazing feeling to someone else.

P.S I have never struggled with a plastic jar of peanut butter before. It was God who made it so difficult. I banged it around, ran water over the lid and even handicapped my hand for the rest of the day. And, my Dad opens it in five seconds. God has an amazing sense of humor and fascinating way of bringing the deep to surface level.

Prayer: Lord, make us generous enough to give while being humble enough to receive.We are aware that we are prideful people, often only admitting our need for help to you. Lord, we are people who will say short prayers instead of asking our neighbors. God, help us to love others well. When we don’t ask for help we aren’t loving others well at all. In fact, Lord we are only loving ourselves. God make us humble, and may we share the awesome feeling of giving with our loved ones around us. We thank you for hearing our prayers, yet again. We say this prayer in Jesus’s name. Amen.

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You Don’t Have to Earn God’s Love

Today, I had a very difficult day. I ended my night, or should I say early morning weeping into a pillow. My eyes are swollen and heavy as I write this. Somehow, I’ve ended up in a place I’ve visited before. This place of self-righteousness, and feeling a need to earn the love of God. It sounds silly, I know. It’s amazing how our brokenness and the familiarity of issues we’ve had with people, shows up in our fellowship with God.I guess I’ve had a past of wanting to be liked by people so badly, that I often put on shows. Also, I’ve dealt with feeling like the kindness of people hung over my head. I’ve always hated the feeling of “being a burden” to anyone. I would have to quickly return their kindness, to feel at ease. So, I guess if this brokenness had not shown up in my relationship with God, it would’ve never been fully brought to my attention.

I love when words flow and compliment one another, but I’d prefer that my blog would be authentic.In my mind when I’m accomplishing the list of Christian duties, then I’m bringing God glory. When indeed it’s when I’m aware of my own weaknesses and I’m completely humbled that I can too bring Him glory.

I say these things to say that you, you reading this are loved by God. There is nothing you could’ve done to earn His love, nor is there anything you can do that will make Him stop loving you. He chose in His Son before the light overcame the darkness, God has been loving you for such a long time. He’s got such awesome plan for your life.That old sin that you’re clinging to, God has something better to give you. Your weaknesses and shortcomings don’t dismay Him nor can it remove His devotion. When the Father looks at you, He sees His Son. Yet, He does see you and loves you completely. Yes, you are a mess, but God still loves you. I don’t know what you’ve been through or what you’ve experienced, but you don’t have to EARN God’s love. God’s love is pre-existing and sovereign. His love is not fickle or feeble. No matter how much or little you’ve studied, or prayed He loves you just the same. You are loved by God. You are deeply loved by God.

Prayer: Lord, I pray that you would remove this manmade equation from our hearts. This action plus that action does not equal Your love. Lord, remind us that it’s through Your Son’s actions that we are reconciled with you. Lord, save us from self-righteousness. It wrecks any hope of us enjoying You. It literally takes Your most deserved praise out of our mouths. Lord, let us accept our weaknesses and not resent them. Let us do things from our hearts and not from seeking to earn your love. God, let us strive for holiness with all of our might. And, when we make bad choices may we not believe in Satan’s lies. Lord, show us how to rejoice in suffering and in failing. Lord, we don’t want to be in this place again. Lastly, Lord fills us and make us whole. We love you. I say this prayer in Jesus name, Amen.

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Singleness and Seeking

There was an intense period in my life where marriage became an idol in my heart. I was new-er in the faith, and I was slapped in the face with a desire for marriage. I had never experienced anything like it before I got saved. I wasn’t hardly aware that it became an idol, but it became an excuse for my discontentment. I couldn’t go on social media without pouting. It was a serious issue. And, to add insult to injury I wasn’t guarding my heart. I would see a man and think ‘Lord, is this, my husband?’ It was exhausting, thankfully God showed me the idol I’d made of marriage.

This began the process of realizing that a man and a ring could not fix any of my heart issues. God revealed to me that this exceeded far past marriage, I wanted love and approval. And, that was a heart issue, one that only He could fix. I soon realized how silly it all was, here it is I have Love, and yet it wasn’t enough. I have God’s approval, and yet it wasn’t enough. I wanted something “tangible”, something that could be applauded by the world I live in. God also had me informed by godly couples who were transparent about the fact that marriage is hard. Those butterflies in your stomach and that new love feeling eventually blows over. One couple even called marriage, ‘the cross’. Eek. That marriage shows us our selfishness, and for it to work we must die to ourselves.

I realized I had some very unrealistic expectations about marriage. I’m sure that is the reason why most marriages fail today. I believe we as women we expect men to be our Prince Charming. God had to reveal to me that what my Savior did on the cross for me, would always be unmatched. That only Jesus saves and satisfies. And, the expectations that I expected from a man (made from dust), were not realistic.

And, recently the Holy Spirit had whispered to me, “pray for your husband”. And, I was in shock. By God’s grace, I had removed marriage from God’s throne, and I was sure that praying for some man I didn’t know would lead me to right back where I was. The first few times I prayed for him, I could not call him ‘my husband’. It just seemed weird. I prayed that God would keep my mind and heart occupied before He sent me my husband. I was afraid of going back to that place of pouting and sulking.

And, because God is faithful I hadn’t experienced those feelings yet again. Until tonight, and it came out of nowhere. Well, Satan had been planting seeds today (as always) and I think I wasn’t capturing those thoughts as quickly as I should have. So, later on, while I’m trying to read my Bible. A picture enters my mind of a woman I follow on social media who had very recently gotten engaged. And, boy did Satan taunt me with it. The tears came out of nowhere. I thought my prayers were making me miss the future husband I haven’t even met. I even thought God was stirring me up to love and miss this man I hadn’t yet met. I’m not even sure what I believe.

But, I know that what I need is for God to continue conforming me to the image of His Son. I know I need to find my identity and worth in Christ, alone. I know I ain’t ready to be nobody’s wife, yet. I know I need to keep my eyes on Jesus and be present in my life. I need to continue to pray for my husband and our future marriage. It will be hard, but it will honor God. I also need to trust in God’s wisdom and know His timing is perfect.

So, I just wanted to encourage you that God is faithful. And, we need to stay in the Potter’s hands so He can make us all He intended us to be.

Prayer: Lord, I pray that we would seek the fountain of living waters. I pray that we would seek you with all of our hearts and might. I pray that when we feel lonely, we’ll sit at your feet God. When we want to belong, we’ll think about our adoption as your children. I pray that we will always seek you first God. I pray that we won’t count on anyone but You to make us feel valid. Lord, may we cling to you, and may you hold uphold us with a willing spirit. God, let your love and acceptance be enough. I pray that we would speak your Words to our seeking hearts. Lord, we know only You can make us whole. There is no one but Jesus who saves. We thank you for His blood today. We say this prayer in Jesus name, Amen.

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The Mercy of God

I purchased a journaling Bible. Ever since I purchased my big ESV and KJV study Bibles, I have loved jotting little notes in my Bible. Yesterday, I played The Sims 4 video game for far longer than I ever expected to. And, because of that I felt condemnation and was upset at my little self-control. So, I prayed that I would practice self-discipline. Starting with reading the book of Jeremiah. Yes, all 52 chapters. See, I’ve never been able to stick to reading plans or even daily devotionals because of my lack of discipline. I also, decided I wasn’t going to resent the discipline that study and prayer call for. I was offended because I thought “God is too good and wonderful for me not to enjoy these things.” God’s goodness has not much to do with these in the sense that I have my flesh and Satan sucking the fun and joy out of both. I thought that thinking that prayer, fellowship, devotions, and worship required discipline, was legalism. And, yet if we approach these things thinking, “this is why God loves or is good to me”. That is legalism. I’m just realizing I have the opposition that attempts to get in the way of me truly enjoying my God. And, I have to put these things to the side and set strict discipline concerning them.

Can’t stop thinking about the mercy of God. Despite all of their abundant disobedience God still called them, ‘my people’. Also, thinking about how prone we all are to seek and that we don’t have the desire to rely on God. Here, God is the fountain of living waters(Jer 2:13), and they dug out cisterns that can’t hold on to the water they’ve filled them with. The love of the God that saved and preserved them in the wilderness; was not enough for them. They chased after the unreciprocated love of foreigners or idols. It’s insane that we seek, even when we’ve found all that we need.

There was a time when I’d laugh and shake my head at the Israelites. I couldn’t understand when they had God so near, why did they seek idols. They had, after all, seen all the mighty acts and wonders of God. It wasn’t until later, and with more maturity that I understand, I am them. I seek for all things outside the realm of God. God has brought me to see the errors of my ways, by seeing how fickle the love and acceptance of others are. But, that’s when I’ve appreciated God’s unchanging hand. And, how no matter what I’ve done or how I’ve sinned He will always love me. That is not a pardon to do the unthinkable, but to think on that fact and be amazed by the mercy of God.

He is so merciful and so long-suffering with His people. It must be His holiness and His love that we have and could never earn, that makes us whimper to foreigners who we have to put forth an effort to love us. Is the unmerited, everlasting love of God so obscene that we’d rather work for phony, and temporal love? Do we get frustrated trusting in Him? Is waiting on God so unbearable? And, then why do we finally turn to Him in the midst of our greatest need? Why, do we tell Him to, “arise and save us”, when we’ve clearly have forgotten His saving power? Why do we try to run from Him, Jonah? Why do we have a hard time putting all of our trust in Him? Why don’t we rely on Him, but formulate back up plans of action?

I’m constantly reminded God is not like man that He’s created, no. Plenty of times in Scriptures I’ve thought ‘I would’ve given up on them, Lord.” I would’ve told Hosea, “you’ve been through enough with that wife of yours.” But, God’s mercy endureth forever(Ps.138:8). God is always willing to forgive the confessions of our sins. Always.

Not only is God eternal, but so is His very character.

I praise God for Him loving us, His former enemies(Rom. 5:10). I thank God for being so stable and unchanging. I praise Him for the mercy I simply don’t deserve. I didn’t deserve Christ’s death on my cross. I don’t deserve His immaculate Holy Spirit. I’m just thanking God for salvation, and His mercy that chose me. We would love to think it was because of our ‘cuteness’, attributes, or even the misfortunes in our past. But, no it was His mercy(Titus 3:5). And, it was His ability to love people who truly hated Him(Rom. 1:30.

I’m just blown away by God.

Prayer: Lord, make us a people who are led by your Spirit, and not by our flesh. Lord, you’ve already given us a Spirit of self-control. So, we are not hopeless or helpless. We can put down that extra cookie, turn off our favorite TV show and pick up your Word. We can put to death every sin that besets us. God may we be a people constantly after your own heart. Lord, may we never turn again to broken cisterns. And may we never create back up plans, but rely on You. May we be a people that count everything as a loss and see Christ as far more worthy. God, help us to be the men and women we know we can be. I say this prayer in Jesus 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.