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.

 

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’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.

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.

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.

My Favorite Apps +Links

 

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

Must-Have Apps

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

 

Favorite Bible Study Resources:

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

Favorite Blogs:

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

 

Discernment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Helpful links:

Why You Should Read The Bible

When you don’t feel like reading your Bible

#Frustrated:Bible Tips

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

 

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.

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.

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.