As I consider my own treasured desires and dreams, my heart longs for God to tell me that I can keep them. That I can wrap them up in my hands and hold them tightly. That I can count on the assurance that these hopes will come to pass, that these gifts will stay in my hands forever… But is that ever promised? Has God promised to keep me safe? To keep my reputation clear and untarnished? Has he promised me children and a home and financial stability? To make my hopes and dreams come to fruition?
After His death, Christ's disciples were heartbroken and terrified. Their Messiah had died. The one they thought was going to save them had died on a cross like a common criminal. All hope had been lost. Their life, their plan, their hopes... everything died with Him.
The beginning of March slipped away quickly. Friends were in town [which was wonderful], but my time to read was limited. But towards the middle of March I was able to set aside more and more time to read. And I've noticed a slight difference. Life feels just a little bit slower. My mind just a little bit clearer.
How do you articulate to fellow believers, to people who look to you as a "strong Christian woman," that only weeks ago you sat on your bathroom floor, barely able to breathe except to utter the words to God or whoever might be listening, "why don't you love me?"
Oftentimes our study of Scripture is clouded by our preconceived opinions, our experience-driven feelings, or our false understanding of who God is... I need a method that forces me to slow down and see Scripture for what it is and what it says, not what I want it to say.
The Bible is big and at first glance it can seem intimidating. I mean, it's 66 books that were written thousands of years ago by really smart people under the inspiration of God. So how do we even go about studying it?
Sometimes it's hard to set apart time to be in the Word. Sometimes even when you set aside the time to be in the Word, it's hard to focus [or to stay awake] or to even understand what you're reading. So what do you do?
Sometimes it is so hard to follow and love You in the midst of a broken world and a broken me. Sometimes I think life would be easier if I didn’t have to feel the pain of a world and people without You. Sometimes I think life would be easier if I didn't realize the extent of my own sin.
I never really thought of myself as an independent person. I've always been fairly introverted, yes, and have learned [aka been forced] to step out on my own quite a few times, but I never really knew how much I craved independence and freedom. Until I got married.
Discipleship. It's a word we throw around in the church a lot and it's a word that is actually not explicitly written in the Bible. So what is DISCIPLESHIP?
This post is rooted in years of questions and doubts about whether or not I was truly following the “calling” of the Lord on my life. I pray that the words I share are encouraging to you. “We are all tempted to want to do something important, but who are we to say what is important and what is not? Every person we engage is an eternal soul and every moment is one that can be leveraged for the sake of your spiritual growth and for the sake of the Gospel.”
We serve a God who is in the business of redeeming every single painful and heartbreaking moment for a grand and glorious and eternal purpose. And what a beautiful thing it is to be able to trust in the fruit that He is growing in us because of this light and momentary suffering.
There are a few cautions that we should keep in mind when it comes to celebrity pastors, at least for the Christians who are not members of those famous pastor’s churches. So to the people that belong to churches led by ordinary pastors like me, I would say this:
This poem by Mabel Williamson, a missionary to China, is a much-needed encouragement to lay down our notions of our "rights" in this world and praise God for the privileges we have in Christ.
Yes there is freedom in financial peace, but there is even more freedom in trusting God fully whether your bank account is empty or full. Yes there is a benefit to having a retirement fund so that you can serve God freely after you stop working, but there is even more benefit to sacrificially and regularly giving of what you have, whether your gifts are large or small. In the act of open-handedly holding your finances before God, you are invited to a level of trust and intimacy with Him that is so incredibly beautiful.