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?
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?
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?
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.”
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?
I drop a load of heavy grocery bags on the kitchen counter and walk out the front door to grab the last of the bags. I look back over my shoulder at our two-year-old puppy as he tilts his head at me, asking me (in his adorable dog-way) where I'm going.
"Sit....... Stayyyyy," I say.
These are daily words in the Bowerman household as we try to train Chief, our adorable rescue pup.
In asking me to stay, God expanded my understanding of missions to be not just going to an overseas country to share the love of Christ, but rather leveraging any opportunity or situation to make disciples and share the gospel where I am.
You know that feeling when you literally have no idea how something is going to work out? When you know there's a "next step" that's coming but you have no idea what it is? When the deadline to have things figured out is just a month (or a week) away? When people ask you "what's next" and you can't answer because it feels like there's just this big black empty void of a black hole ahead of you that will swallow you if you get too close?
Do you ever have those days when everything seems to be crumbling? When things are just falling apart left and right and you don’t have the strength to hold it together anymore? When it seems like everything is just too much and you want to give up?
...We are therefore able to have immense joy in the time of suffering because Christ Himself is our present joy and our future hope.
Let us not be thankless and praiseless because we are in a season of sorrow or trial.
Instead, may our pain and loss bring praise to our lips as we are reminded that our Savior is our only true comfort and our only true rest.
It seems like the enemy has tirelessly worked to bring me low and make me believe lies. And I confess, I’ve allowed him to bring me low and I’ve believed the lies.
But like firm ground underfoot that can’t be seen through the thickness of low-settled fog, with every step I have been able to rest firmly in the knowledge that He is sure and steadfast.