Including the book I recommend to EVERY college student and young adult I know and some helpful books for pastors and pastor's wives!
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.
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.
The lies of social media make us believe that marriage will fill you with joy and that you will be free from the insecurities, frustrations, and sins that you struggle with now. It's so easy to long for marriage to fill a desire for intimacy or purpose. But let me tell you, if you are longing for marriage to meet a desire for intimacy, you will be disappointed.
Last week I wrote a blog on sexual sin. In that post I highlighted the depth of God's grace. Grace that meets us even in our deepest sin. At the same time (and by that I mean while holding on to that understanding of the grace and goodness and mercy of God) we must also actively pursue repentance with every ounce of our being. So what does it meant to repent?
The Lord is good and gracious in everything that He does, including the times when He walks us through seasons of deep suffering. We can see His goodness and grace even in the deep suffering because it leads us to trust Him and know Him more. It serves to shape us more into the image of God. It helps us to see the temporary nature of the world and the lasting satisfaction found in God.
I know this is a topic that we don't really talk about. It's a topic that I, even though I have been a regular church-goer for all 26 years of my life, didn't hear mentioned in the church even once until a few years ago. It seems that in most churches, sexual sin is considered one of the "darker" or "worse" sins, so we don't talk about it, we keep it in the dark. But I'm going to talk about it here because I believe that Satan works in the darkness.