a heavy love

Salvation is heavy. Your salvation, your forgiveness–it weighs a lot. Its so easy to begin to see our sins as our definition. Its easy to look in the mirror and see everything that YOU have done, rather than everything that HE has done. If we let ourselves be defined by the sin and brokenness in our life, we will never live in glory that God has intended us to live in with Him.

Its a choice. Its an easy choice.

When we say “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t think Jesus ever should have died for me” or “I’m just not feeling saved today,” not only is that deeply wrong, its painful for God to hear. You ARE enough, you ARE saved, and who are you to decide if Jesus should have died for you?! He did die for you, end of story. It’s already been done. When we think that way, we are minimizing the amazing sacrifice that Jesus paid for us on the cross. He put that crown of righteousness on our heads and said “you are worthy. You are saved. You are more than worth dying for.” He put that crown on our head, so who are we to take it off!

God is God over all. He knows what He is doing. He didn’t have to do any of what He did for us. But He chose to because we are His inheritance. We are His beloved. We were bought at a heavy price so that we would no longer have to define ourselves by our past sin and failure and pain. We can now see ourselves as we really are. Loved by the Father and covered in grace and mercy. He bought us with His own precious blood, the blood of the only perfect human, the blood of His holy Son. It wasn’t cheap. It was the greatest love ever, spent all on us.

So let’s start living loved. Because we are so deeply loved by the one who truly matters, and I don’t think we grasp the magnitude of that. That crown was set on your head by the Lord, and no one–not even yourself–has the right to take it off. Wear it with joy and confidence. You are loved so heavily.

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as gold or silver that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

1 PETER 1:18-19

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unconventional God

unconventional God

GREETINGS!! Long time no blog. I have been putting this post off for such a long time, pretending it was because I am too busy, but I think the real reason was because I didn’t feel like I was spiritually prepared to sit down and type out my thoughts and share them. But here we are–finally!

When the new year came around, I felt like I was soarin’. I legitimately thought nothing could bring me down. I was so prepared for a new season of my life, a new semester, a new approach to my faith. The first couple weeks of 2018 were fanFREAKINGtastic. Everything I had been praying for seemed to surface, I felt so in tune with the Spirit. And as soon as I gained a foothold, satan ripped it out from under me. And I didn’t do anything about it. Instead of standing my ground and shutting the devil down, I just sat back, wallowing in my own hurt and literally just letting satan have my joy. So, to say the least, the past few months have been hard, but I am slowly re-learning how to lean into the presence of Christ in the trials.

Through this time of questioning and doubt though, I still believe that God was working. I know He was actually, because I can see seeds now that I didn’t see before. There were so many areas of my life where I just didn’t feel content where I was. So all my prayers seemed to be me going to God asking for release of this “dissatisfaction.” Soon though, I realized that God doesn’t answer prayers in conventional ways. I was looking for an escape of some sort. But God instead provided a change of attitude. God doesn’t answer prayers according to what you want or think is best. He answers prayers according to what He KNOWS is best.

I’ve learned that honestly everything about walking with the Lord is so unconventional. There is really no “conventional” way to have a true relationship with God, because if there was, it wouldn’t be true. I’ve been struggling with ways to do meaningful ministry. I know that God has given me certain gifts, but there are so many ways to use them. God doesn’t give you a script that tells you exactly how you can use what He has given you. All He wants is for us to use what He so graciously gave us for the benefit of the Kingdom of God. There is no box that you have to fit in, no one right way. I have been forcing myself to stay in this box that I imagine to be the only way to do meaningful ministry. But OH MY GOODNESS ministry can be done anywhere in any way! seriously! I don’t have to be sitting across from someone at Starbucks reading the Bible, or leading a youth group or Bible study, or be in Africa on mission to consider it ministry. (and all of those things are amazing ways to do ministry, but not the only ways)

This box that I’ve been talking about, I believe that we all think it’s there, but it’s really not. God doesn’t have a certain formula that we must fit in order to walk with Him. This box isn’t just related to ministry either. Its our lives. We think that we have to match a standard or mold to be a follower of Christ. NO! You don’t have to wake up early every morning to read your Bible, and if you don’t read your Bible that day you are not a failure. You don’t have to worship the same way that the person next to you does. You don’t have to be a missionary in a third world country to be impactful. God created you unique in His image. The way that one person does something is not the only way to do that thing! Make moves for the Kingdom. Set your eyes on heaven. And be relentlessly YOU while doing it.

all that You are for me

all that You are for me

The other day, I prayed this prayer. Then I prayed it again the next day, and the next and the next. Then I realized the power in this cry, and that I MUST share it with you.

God you are so fierce and yet still so intimate. You are everything that I need in a Savior. You are passionate in seeking me and finding my heart. You are never passive. You are always longing for me as if You cannot wait a single second more. You are in LOVE with me. I am so in awe that a God as powerful and mighty as You are, could be that head over heels for me. I am YOUR inheritance. You are sitting in heaven looking down on me saying “someday we will be together forever and I can’t wait for your heart.” MY HEART. All that You are and still Your deepest desire is MY heart?! All the heavens and the earth belong to You, yet You still choose me, just like Israel. You have set your affection on me, Your child. You have set me apart and are doing a good work in me–even if it doesn’t seem so now.

You tore through heaven to earth, looking for me. You don’t ever leave my side, You have never failed and You never will. Your record is perfect, without a single mark or flaw. And You say that all that perfection is for my good. All that You are is for me. YOU are victorious and because of that I am victorious. You conquered that grave, and because of that I can conquer any grave that stands before me. You are not a selfish God. I should not gain from what You have won, but You love me enough to let me share in that victory.

This is the cry of my heart. That everything that God has done is for my benefit. It gives me peace to think that God’s beautiful and flawless character is all for my good. There is nothing I cannot do with a God like that on my side. It gives me patience because I know that the greatness in my God can shine through any moment, and if I give up I could be giving up moments away from seeing His promise surface. His beauty takes time. It gives me courage because I know that I rise in His victory. He won–therefore I won. All that He is lives in me, and because of that I lack nothing.

My heart is full of thanks for my Savior, because He defines who I am. Because all that He is, is for me. For His Israel. For His chosen and set apart children that He loves more than all creation. Stand in this promise, for 1 Thess. 5:24 says “the one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

missing god

missing god

I’ve written about waiting before, but I guess I’m having trouble taking my own advice. So here I am again. Waiting looks different in a Jesus follower. Waiting isn’t boring, it’s not uneventful, and it’s definitely not any less valid of a season. Waiting is expectant. It’s pursuing. It’s absolutely marked by the hand of God–if you choose to see it that way.

Seasons of waiting in our walk with God tend to mistakenly be seen as a time of walking on our own. We try to ask God where we’re going,  we say “I’m trying to follow your voice, but it’s not there!!!” We also don’t address the validity of a season of waiting, because we just see it as the “pre-good.” In our minds, waiting isn’t good. Waiting is just waiting. Hoping for something to come along that is better than what we have now.

There’s a song that I’ve heard many times, but the other day I stopped to pray through the lyrics. It’s called “Take Courage,” and here are the lyrics:

take courage my heart

stay steadfast my soul

He’s in the waiting.

Those simple lyrics that I have heard over and over again stopped hitting the surface and bouncing off and they finally sank in deeper.

God is in our waiting, we are just ignorant of Him. When we say that we are trying to follow the sound of God’s voice and its not there, it really IS there, we just can’t hear it. We can’t hear the sound of God’s comforting voice over the sound of our own longing for answers. We can’t even stop desiring knowledge enough to hear the answers from God himself. God is present. You don’t wait on your own.

Another thing that I’ve found is that God doesn’t provide answers until you become okay with waiting. We can’t expect our Father to hand everything over to us. “he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him.” (acts 17:26-27) God doesn’t withhold answers from us because He likes to see us grasp for air. He likes to see us desperately in need of Him. He longs for us to come to Him and ASK and to acknowledge that He is with us.

In exodus 32, Moses is up on Mount Sinai speaking to God. The Israelites were at the foot of the mountain. God had literally JUST delivered them out of Egypt, out of slavery, and they could physically see the cloud of His presence on the mountain. Instead of expectantly waiting for God to move again, instead of praising God for all He has done for them, and all they know He will do, they just get bored of waiting. In their impatience, they build a golden calf and worship that. God moves in His own timing, and His timing is not even comparable to ours. If God isn’t fast enough, I so easily forget that He is still there. God isn’t missing, I am missing all that He doing because I am too busy accusing Him of being missing.

So I encourage you (and me), to go before God in your season of question marks, and just ask Him. Don’t try to figure everything out on your own. God doesn’t want to fight you for your attention. When you give up control, you aren’t giving up. You are letting God in, you are denying your stubbornness and your fight is solely in God’s hands. And what a weight that gets rid of. How freeing that is to know that you don’t have to know. God is there all the time. The only reason God could ever be “missing” is if you deny Him entrance, if you are more consumed with immediate answers, than intentional listening.

good enough?

good enough?

Satan tells you that you’re good enough.

God tells you that you aren’t.

I’m gonna be honest and personal right now. okay. A huge sin that I’ve recently been struggling with is acting like I’m a good person. That isn’t exactly something you can wrap your head around… because I’m supposed to be a good person right so is there actually anything wrong with this?

YES. SO MUCH IS WRONG WITH THIS.

I act like I am a good person. I talk like I’m a good person person. And eventually I begin to believe that I am a good person. But I am definitely not good. Really, I’m just decent at building my image in front of others. I put on a “good” mask, but it just covers up the ugly underside. When I start to believe that I’m a good person I elevate my own pride, suppressing all humility. I start to deny my desperate need for my Savior. When I put myself on display instead of displaying myself as a masterpiece of His glory, I diminish the power of the cross.

Satan feeds us this lie that we are good enough. He feeds our pride, saying we got this on our own. Jesus? Who needs Jesus? That whole cross thing was a “just in case” measure. But hey don’t worry! YOU ARE GOOD. lies. There are no “just in cases.” Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. No one is righteous, not even one. There are no exceptions. No one is good enough. I need Jesus in the same depth as you. He who sins once is just as in need of a Savior and he who sins with every breath.

The truth is–how I think of myself doesn’t change the fact that I still need a Savior. Its just a mindset. When my mindset is “I got this,” i’m constantly going 300 mph trying to prove that I can do it, when in fact, I cannot. But when I know that “I don’t got this,” I can find rest. I can lay in peace knowing that I can’t do it, but He so can. I don’t have to be perfect, and I don’t have to pretend that I am perfect either. I can and will do my best, but where I fall short I won’t act like I haven’t. I know God’s grace like I know a loyal friend. It’s constant, always there even when I am not.

God will never tell us that we are good. He instead tells us that we are not good enough. No matter how hard we tried, how “good” we appeared to everyone else, we could never ever be good enough. He says you HAVE fallen short, but Jesus hasn’t. He says I KNOW you aren’t good enough, but I love you anyway. I love you so much that you don’t have to believe that you are good enough. You can rest in the fact that Jesus already was. God sees righteousness in you not because of how good you are or how good you seem. He sees righteousness in you because you simply have faith in Him. Its not about you–it never was. satan can’t tell you that anymore.

we are now

we are now

I get so caught up in whats to come. And to an extent, we all do. I think that this world is so caught up in what we can do LATER, but what about now?? Why does no one seem to care about right now? No matter what stage of life we’re at, for some reason we still all say next time. We all say some day down the road. We’re blinded to the now by looking towards the future like we can figure out what it holds.

Acts 1:7 says “It is not for you to know the times or dates that the Father has set by His own authority.” Accept that. God set out our appointed times in history, and He has yet to reveal them to us for a reason. Acts 17:27 says its because He wants us to seek Him out through the chaos of our thoughts and reach out and find Him. This makes me grin. I don’t know how you can read that verse and not be 20x happier than you were before. It so reveals His character, His goodness towards us. Basically, God doesn’t just plainly give us all the answers, because He wants us to come to Him and ask. He wants to be close to us, and He wants that communion. How can we be angry at God for not revealing what we want Him to, when all He really wants is to be near us and to walk with us, knowing we are fully relying on Him and not just checking out. If we knew all there was to know, all that God has in store for us, in our minds He would become useless to us. And nothing can take His authority away. Not our doubt, not our desire, or lack of desire, nothing. He never falls off of His throne.

We can’t focus on whats to come or we will miss what is now. Trust that God has your future set out, and every single detail is hand-crafted by Him with YOU in mind. Trust that He won’t let you miss it or let it pass you by. God WILL reveal what He has. He won’t “forget” to show you where you will be going or what you will be doing. He won’t take off without you, He will show you when your appointed time in history comes. Be okay with saying “yes. I say yes to whatever you want me to do, even if I don’t know what that is yet.” If that is the attitude of your heart then you won’t get so caught up in details of what is to come. Its okay!! Because although I don’t know, I know the one who does.

Just be present. Don’t miss what He has for you now. Don’t forget that God brought you HERE NOW for a reason too. God isn’t just a ‘God of the future’ and we aren’t just ‘kingdom workers in the future,’ He is God of all the times, and we are called to work for Him in all times too. We aren’t called to a certain place or time, we are called to a lifestyle– which can be carried out anywhere, anytime. There is too much at stake to be lost in an unknown future. Don’t consume yourself with trying to know. Rest in the fact that you don’t. And HE does.

“I thank you and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, You have made known to me what we have asked of You.”

–Daniel 2:23–

he is more

he is more

Does God ever wreck you? Sometimes He just comes in and makes His presence so known to you and it’s so undeniable and real that it moves you to tears. Well honestly, that hasn’t happened to me in a long time. I’m a real emotional person in the day to day stuff, like I laugh and cry a lot, but when it comes to my walk with God, for some reason I seem to be made of steel.

This week was monumental in my walk with the Lord. I spent a lot of intentional time with God and each time I sat down to talk with Him, He moved me to tears. Honestly, there was not a single time that I prayed or opened my bible and still had dry eyes. Such a serious answer to prayer. God is softening my heart to His presence and character, and making himself so much more real to me.

I think I was so emotionless before because I was trying to live for Him without Him. Its all about true communion, and true communion isn’t ignoring God in your walk with Him, thinking you’ve got this. You can do all the things, but if you’re not doing them WITH Him, then you’re going to be left feeling empty and stone cold, like me. Its not about religion, but relationship. Relationship with the Father is liberating, but we still cling to the safety of the chains of religion. Be engaged with the Lord. If it feels like you’re talking or praying to a brick wall, its probably because you’re imagining Him like a brick wall, you’re not acknowledging all that He is. You are not praying to a silent God, but to the King of Kings, who is active and LOUD. Don’t settle in thinking that His voice isn’t something that is accessible to you. He speaks and moves in different ways, but if you are expectant instead of doubtful, I promise your heart will flip open. If you recognize that the God that you have access to is more than you think He is, your heart becomes receptive.

I’ve been in this season of confusion for a while now. I thought I had my life set out and all my plans were rock solid and all of sudden I’m not so sure. God has been revealing to me that my plans were made out of selfish intentions and were made without truly listening to Him. This week God has softened my heart to be able to listen to Him with an open and ready heart, rather than a heart that just has selective hearing. There is still so much I don’t know, so much uncertainty in my future, but now I’m okay with that. God is revealing it bit by bit, and at first I was frustrated because He wouldn’t give me very much, but now I can see that He’s revealing what I need.

For the first time, I listened to God and not to respond, not just because I wanted answers, but to actually listen to hear Him. I acknowledged that God is more than just an ear to hear my prayers. I came before Him, recognizing Him as Psalm 96 says I should. (btw go read psalm 96 and just declare that THAT is who you are speaking to when you say “Dear God”) He is more than a brick wall behind the scenes. He is alive, He is listening, and He is acting. We just have to realize that He is so much more than we think He is or could ever even imagine Him to be, and we have to listen to THAT God, not the lacking image of God we have in our heads. He is never limited to our doubtful minds. He is boundless, regardless of what we think of Him. But when we think of Him as more, He becomes more to us.