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A Line In The Sand/An Open (anonymous) Letter

 

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
– Psalms 34:18

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
– Psalms 147:3

“…My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:9

God is “close to the brokenhearted”… That is a promise. “It’s not a feeling, it is a fact,” as a friend of mine put it.

How does one exercise faith? Having faith in God means believing that He is who He is, and that He has done what He has done. But what about when having faith means letting go and trusting God? I know, from both experience as well as observation that this step can often seem more difficult than initially accepting God to begin with.

In my experience, it has been similar to a line in the sand; On one side, I have my faith in God in the sense of saying, “I believe.” On the other side of the line is my faith on a whole different level where suddenly that line becomes a canyon. It requires so much more of me. It requires–well–a leap of faith. I have to not only work up the courage to know that I am making the right choice and know that when I land, God will be there to catch me, whether is be at the bottom of the canyon or at the other side of the line… I also have to be able to deny myself and my wants and my earthly needs, which can be a completely separate task in itself. But what did Jesus tell us? In Mark 8:34, he said…Line

“If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.”

The thing that often prevents us from doing that very thing is fear. Often that fear is that things won’t turn out the way that we want or “need” them to turn out. But…

“…God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.”
– 2 Timothy 1:7

That line in the sand can be complicated, and once you make that jump, odds are that you will land with another just ahead of you.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
– John 16:33

When facing another line in the sand, I am always reminded of the words of 2 Corinthians 12:9 (above) and 10

“That is why I take pleasure in my weakness, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2013 in Building Blocks for Life, Life in General

 

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Music Speaks: Strong Enough

Strong Enough
by
Matthew West

You must, You must think I’m strong
To give me what I’m going through.
Well, forgive me
Forgive me if I’m wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own

Well maybe
Maybe that’s the point
To reach the point of giving up

Cause when I’m finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well that’s when I start looking up
And reaching out

Cause I’m broken
Down to nothing
But I’m still holding on to the one thing
You are God
and you are strong 
when I am weak.

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don’t have to be
Strong enough
Strong enough

I know I’m not strong enough to be
everything that I’m supposed to be
I give up
I’m not strong enough
Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
Lord right now I’m asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
For the both of us

I feel that little needs to be said in addition to this song. This is very exemplary of where my heart is at right now; crying out for God to be my strength when so much has gone so wrong.

“Maybe that’s the point, to reach the point of giving up. Cause when I’m finally at rock bottom, that’s when I start looking up.” A less eloquent version of this line has been running through my head all week, as I’ve known that I am not alone in all of the troubles I’ve been dealing with. Giving up was certainly a first thought, yet it was immediately followed by appreciation for the need to rest on God.

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
– 2 Corinthians 2:10

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2013 in Music Speaks

 

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A Matrimonial Revelation

I know that this isn’t exactly a news flash−in fact I think that I may have mentioned it before−marriage is hard!

Of course, all marriages deal with less-than-perfect circumstances at some point or another.
When I married my husband, I had a plan. We would be the exception. Our marriage would be easy. Why? Because, in my young, naive mind, people made their relationships difficult. We would choose for ours to be easy, and it would be so.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that would not be how things would work in reality.

My husband and I are both equally stubborn, and have possibly a little too much in common. I’ve always heard that “opposites attract”, and well–that just isn’t the case here. We are both unintentionally firm in the fact that, while we don’t necessarily want to control everything around us, we don’t want anybody else to be able to either…including our spouse. We both much prefer to operate on our own timeline, which, more often than not is the exact opposite of each others.

Needless to say, we frequently find ourselves bickering. Not out of anger, and really−much of the time, there is not really any reason for it.

I’ve come to realize that, at least for myself, the devil is involved.
We are living in a world that tells you to seek out your own happiness above all else. A world that tells us that if things aren’t perfect, we should find something better. Even growing up in a godly household, you will have much influence from this world, no matter how sheltered and protected you may be.

As a child and teen, my parents sheltered me. They monitored what I watched on tv, what kind of music I listened to, what kind of people I surrounded myself with and what kind of influences I had in my life.
That did not stop the world from getting in, and in turn for that, the “me, me, me” train of thought was, to a point, ingrained into my mind.

So when things aren’t going “perfectly” in marriage, what am I supposed to do? The world/devil tells me to move on. End it and find something “better”.
Thankfully, our marriage is not just between my husband and myself. There is another involved who has His mighty hand over us, and has been our guide through some of the most difficult times. He is the One who has taught me that it isn’t supposed to be “easy,” nothing is.
He is the One who tells me that my marriage is supposed to last.
There is a nature of sin that the world brings into a marriage, and it is our responsibility to fight that sin, just like any other that we encounter.union

I’ve also learned that without the bad times, we would have no inclination to seek out the good times. Why would we be looking forward to something better if we’re “perfectly” happy with what we have?
Life−including marriage−is not supposed to be “perfect,” it is not supposed to be “easy.” We are supposed to have a strong reliance on the Father to help us through every second of every part of it, relying on Him to carry us through and praising Him all the while, until one day when we can be with Him, because with Him is the ONLY place where perfection can truly be attained.

 

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2013 in Life in General, Wife

 

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Mr. Right/Perfect Love

I’ve been repeatedly reminded in recent months that so much of the focus of todays youth has to do with finding “Mr./Miss Perfect.”
Now, I have to use the term “todays youth” somewhat loosely as I myself am only twenty-three and therefore in many ways, those words still apply to me. However, I also feel that I have aged quite rapidly, especially in the past four years since getting married only one month shy of turning nineteen. (Note that I said “aged”, not “matured”)

As I look at the young girls around me, aged most commonly eighteen and nineteen, it pains my heart to see the obsessive hunt for the right person. Even more, it pains me that this search is often based on a fantasy.

The fantasy for finding love seems to be that the ideal person will be an exact copy of you, in the opposite sex. I hear so many girls talking about the fact that all of their relationships “fail” because the potential suitor “was starting to irritate me.” The fantasy tells us (young girls, especially) that the “right person” will never upset us, will never hurt us, and will do absolutely everything to make sure that we are happy in every way at all times.

But here’s the quandary; there’s only ONE person who can provide all of that, and He isn’t walking around today looking for a date.Perfect Love

Christ is the only “Perfect Man.” He is the only One who will never fail you, never hurt you, never let you down, and always provide for you.

As the mother of an all too quickly growing daughter, I have come to be determined that this is something that I will teach her from a very early age, in hopes that if nothing else sticks, this will. My daughter (and all other girls) need to know that the love of a man is not only not “perfect”, but it also is not really what is missing from their lives, but that it is The Son of Man that will show them what perfect love really is.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2013 in Life in General

 

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Why We Give: Fragmentary Answer

I’ve been working (in my mind) on how to best build the case for why it is important to help others for someone who is having a difficult time grasping the “point” of it. This morning my reading has once again coincidentally brought me upon more basis for this discussion I’ve been constructing.

bigstockphoto_risk_1072402The argument that I am facing (more or less) is “I can’t give to others because I am trying to take care of my family.”

I’d like to point out that I have more thought out than is involved in this blog, however if you have anything you think would benefit being added for the purpose of sharing the importance of the need to do this, I would more than welcome it.

If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lent to other sinners for a full return.” – Luke 6:32-34

Life is not a matter of taking care of yourself and your family to simply “make it through”, but it is more a matter of showing Gods love to people in need and to people who have not heard or felt the power of Christ in their lives. The goal is  to show them what they are missing by not having the Savior in their lives; to show them “this is what His love can do”, and “if this is possible, how much greater must His love be?”

We are not trying to be “better” than the lost but we are supposed to be different. How is your life with God different from that of the unbeliever?

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2013 in Building Blocks for Life, Life in General

 

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The Truth About Security

“But what happens when the people of God do not escape from the beguiling enchantment of security? What happens if they live their lives in the mirage of safety? The answer is wasted lives.” – John Piper

This is the thought that is heavy on my heart right now.
I’ve been reading “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper for the last two days and I have been unable to put it down. It is a fantastic book and it has got me thinking so much and I have again been finding answers to questions that I’ve been asking most of my life.

A friend of mine suggested this book to me, saying that I’d really like it, and boy, was she ever right. This afternoon as I come to chapter five, I’m fairly certain that this is exactly where she was at in her reading when she thought of me.
Chapter five is titled, “Risk Is Right−Better to Lose Your Life Than To Waste It.” Those who know me, or even follow my blog likely have a sense of how much this chapter relates to me. From the first paragraph, I felt as if a magnet was drawing me deeper into the book. While I’ve been learning a lot from this book, the quotation at the start of this blog is the first point in the book where I’ve really had to pause to collect my raging thoughts.

After reading Pipers questions and answer found here, my initial thought was instant and simple. “Ouch.” bigstockphoto_risk_1072402
Sadly I know that this is exactly what I have been trying to do with my life; I’ve been attempting to hide and to live in what he refers to quite fittingly as “the mirage of safety,” even knowing that it doesn’t truly exist.

The author got me praying and wondering, How many opportunities for joy and blessings have I missed by trying to hide? How many chances have I passed up to share Gods love with others because I was too afraid to be social, too afraid to take the risk?

The answer? Too many. Even if it was only one, it was one too many. Risk for the glory of God is necessary, and something to take joy in. It’s hard for me to believe that I didn’t see that before reading this book, but I see it now and it’s time to make a change.

Here’s a new request for my blog. I ask that you please pray for me. Pray for me to have the strength and courage to step out in faith and to overcome my fear that I may bring glory to the Savior. Please pray with me, that I don’t waste my life.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2013 in Life in General

 

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Bad Things?

Over this past weekend I’ve been reading the book “The Most Misused Verses In The Bible” by Eric J. Bargerhuff.
I picked it up off of a promotional shelf in the book store a couple of weeks ago, and it looked like something that might be interesting to me. I must say, I certainly wasn’t expecting to find the answers to all of lifes questions, so I was quite surprised when I found some answers to one certain question that I’ve heard asked many times by a variety of different people from all faiths and backgrounds. 

So what is that “one certain question?”

Why do bad things happen to good people?

As I said, I wasn’t looking for these answers and the thought that I may find them—not only in this book, but in my lifetime at all—didn’t even cross my mind as I began to read.
My discoveries may not be the “full” explanation or answer sufficient to every person who has ever wondered about it, but upon the study of this book and a few key scriptures, I found the answer that I didn’t even know I was asking.
The first verse that ignited this chain of thought was Romans 8:28:

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Bargerhuff summarizes, “Bad things happen, but God works it for good.”
That is when a light came on; Why do bad things happen? To shape us. To teach us. To form us into what we are supposed to be: More Christ-like. Evil was done when Jesus was hung on the cross. Of course, God knew it would happen. God used the ultimate evil to work the greatest good, the redemption of His children.
Why do bad things happen?

“…to make us rely not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead.”
2 Corinthians 1:9

I had always just formed a vague answer in my own mind when I heard that question asked. You know the kind, “Oh just because that’s how God wants it.” While that may be at least partially true, there is so much joy in finding and gaining new understanding of scripture that puts a far more complete answer behind it.

I am so thankful for all that God has been teaching me, through good times, and the bad.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Life in General

 

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