My year-long Bible reading plan is taking me through the Gospels and I just love it. I've been able to see Jesus' character as I read the accounts from the disciples who spent so much time with him. Recently I read this verse and I slowed down a bit...
This month has been FULL and my head is still spinning from it all. November marks the first full month of juggling a new job and additional freelance hours, so this reading list is a little shorter, but I treasured every book.
I often struggle with the contradiction between striving to be more like Christ while also trusting God to work through me. The juxtaposition seems almost impossible. How are we supposed to work out our own salvation if it is God who is working in us?
Am I the only one who has a hard time accepting it when God says "no" to me? Am I the only one who grits my teeth in frustration when God's response to my prayer for a good thing is "wait"? Am I the only one who feels forgotten by God when something hard happens in my life?
In a way that I can only attribute to the power and sanctifying work of the Spirit, my faith has become less blind understanding, less knowledge of seminary-ingrained truths, and more real, concrete, deeply-rooted-in-my-soul knowledge of God.
As believers, we must write as one who will give an account for every word we speak (and write). At the same time, there is grace when we don't get it right. We must embrace this tension, writing with fear and trembling while leaning into the abundant grace of God.
Maybe it’s the season I’m in now, but life feels especially uncomfortable lately. As much as I try to fight for joy, discontentment seems to continually rear its ugly head in my heart. It feels like the things I am praying and striving for most, God has chosen to keep just out of reach...
We are scared of failing. Scared of imperfection and - moreso - of letting people see the ways we don't quite meet the standards we've set for ourselves. But, you see...in the most beautiful way, imperfection is an invitation.
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?