Living As God Intended {Trial Truths}

Late last year, I set up some boundaries. Social media boundaries. These boundaries were put in place to protect me. To protect my heart. The hard thing about social media is – the reminder of how different our lives can look like from everyone else’s.

My life looks vastly different from everyone else’s. I could sit here and literally count the ways. But, it doesn’t really benefit my soul to do that. Instead of doing this profitless thing, I need to keep my focus on the Lord and His Word.

Looking to the Word –

But be sure in deciding these matters that you are living as God intended, marrying or not marrying in accordance with God’s direction and help, and accepting whatever situation God has put you into. This is my rule for all the churches (1 Cor. 7:17, TLB).

In Scripture, we are reminded that – we can be placed in very different circumstances from others. There is a bigger picture than our circumstances (even the devastating ones), and that is the quality of relationship we have with God through His Son Jesus Christ! Will we allow the Lord to be of greater importance than our painful circumstances?

Some things in my life can make me feel so ashamed, and yet I have to remember it is a “drawing near” tool. While my identity isn’t in my circumstances, these things can help me connect with Christ – who is the Source of my identity.

Whatever your circumstance, I welcome you to my blog. You are welcome here. None of us fit into this perfect box of unbrokenness, for we all face hard things. Let’s just keep coming to our Lord Jesus honestly, and learning how to live for Him.

The circumstances we face can be very tough at times. I love this verse found in 1 Cor. 7, because it honestly shares the truth we need to recite in our daily lives. We need to consider how to live a life for our Lord Jesus, even now. We need to live out the call God has placed on our lives today, rather than waiting for better circumstances.

If you are anything like me, you might be feeling inadequate and broken right now. Friend, this is where the Lord will meet you and share with you His presence as you draw nearer to Him.

While I cannot fix your circumstances or even my own, I am here to offer you comfort. The truth is – you are not alone, neither am I. We are not alone. The Lord Jesus Christ meets us here. In this place. And out of all other places, this is the one where He chooses to reveal Himself the most. . . as we come broken before Him and desperately seeking Him.

Well, that is all I have to share today. But, I will be back soon. Don’t forget to order your journal and prepare your heart – because Monday we begin our newest online Bible study (Press On Toward Faithfulness)!

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{Summer} Psalms – 1

The blessing behind using this blog is – the freedom. My fingers can walk joyfully across my keyboard, and use a different format for this particular journey. Each blog post can short or long. There is joy and freedom, because I can just seek Jesus without borders.

Welcome to Psalms, Chapter 1!!!

What stood out? At the top of my paper, I jotted down very specific Bible references. Tonight, I want to share those with you. Each verse is shared in the NIrV translation. I encourage you to check out these verses in your own Bibles. Highlight them. Write notes in the margins about what God is showing YOU through these verses.

. . . Everything godly people do turns out well (1:3a).

The Lord watches over the lives of godly people. But the lives of sinful people will lead to their death (1:6)

When the Lord judges them, their life will come to an end. Sinners won’t have any place among those who are godly (1:5, see Matthew 25:31-46).

Which Path Will You Take?

Several other things stood out to me too. The descriptive words in the first verse alone are soul stirring. Things like “join in,” “make a habit,” and “follow.” It can be tempting to crave what others are doing, or even just settling for what others are doing. But, we are reminded of these two different worlds.

If we will focus our attention on Jesus Christ, the Bible, and eternity, we will grow by leaps and bounds

. . . and find ourselves intensely joyful as we sit at our Savior’s feet.

This Summer, I want to develop a great joy for our Risen Lord and the Bible. I want to just be able to walk by the Holy Spirit. I want to see the distractions of my life sink into the background completely unnoticed, because I am just sooo full of God and the joy He gives.

In Psalms 16:11, we are reminded that…

You [God] will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore (AMPC).

Deuteronomy 1-2

See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your [ancestors] (1:8).

Israel was told to go and take possession of the land. While God gave the Israelites special land, God has given us sacred spiritual land. We need to go and take possession of it. We do this by seeking our Lord Jesus Christ and being sensitive to the direction of the Holy Spirit. Also by keeping the Bible close to our hearts, and using it as our road map for life (see Joshua 1:6-9).

Fear –

Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place (1:29-31).”

We have been urged by God to not be afraid. God loves us and promises to fight for us, His people. This is the truth we need, as we set our feet on this journey of seeking after our Risen Lord – Jesus! We don’t need to be afraid, because God has shown us that He will fight for us!

They will be afraid of you, but be very careful. Do not provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land, not even enough to put your foot on (2:4-5a).

God prepared the Israelites, as they went into pieces of land. I can understand why God would need to direct them to be careful and not harass (see vv. 9). It is easy to want to “poke the bear,” so to speak by taking pride in the fact that others are afraid of us. When others are afraid of us, we have to be very careful.

Our Spiritual Possessions –

God urges His people to begin to take possession of it and engage [them] in battle (2:24b). The time had come, where they would begin to experience the place God was calling them toward.

There is a parallel between God giving them their land, and the spiritual possession He is desiring to give us. In our own lives, how are we listening to and answering the voice of God? If we cannot hear Him, it is possible that our sins and distractions are louder than His voice. Our sins are always louder and more distracting than the voice of God, which greatly hinders our spiritual walk and the possessions God wants to give us.

I am not talking about financial blessings that rain down from Heaven, like televanglists assure you. While God make you filthy rich, I doubt that is His plan for our lives. It might very well cause us to quit seeking God.

However, God does want to bless us!

God wants to give us enormous blessings that this world cannot begin to give. As we seek after the things of God, we will face road blocks, trials, and great difficulties. This is because of the enormous level of the spiritual possessions God wants to give to us – the people He calls His own children through Jesus’ death and resurrection!

Introvert Speaks: Guilt-Free Expectations

Let me begin, by saying this one thing:

God has given me the most amazing fellow readers and bloggers to enjoy life alongside – as I write and wrestle with this innate desire to be relational.

Thank you ladies and gents, for being soo amazing!

Thank you for allowing me to be real about my struggles – in this safe place. No guilt. No judgment. Just love that brings me closer to my Creator!

The guilt from being relational is real.

It is real, because there is this expectations that most are not willing to meet.

Even though, it can cause me to feel guilty at times. And even if it seems consuming, at times, this is a desire God will use.

Confession

Wanna know what kills me, though? Can I be honest something?

The relationships I view and experience, are often different from those God has designed for His Church. Think about it.

The Church is designed to live, breathe, and work together.

None are designed to go off on their own. We are even given a few important and impactful messages on the Christian community.

Like in Hebrews 10:23-25, where we are taught….

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Also, in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12…

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

When You Haven’t Missed the Boat

Clearly, I am not “missing the boat” in craving relationships with depth. It is backed up with what Scripture teaches us.

Abundant Life –

See, the thing is – God has this AMAZING, abundant life in store for us. As believers, who have wholeheartedly put their trust in Jesus Christ, we have the opportunity to have different kind of relationships than what the world chases after.

Bottom Line –

Bottom line: We were made to have someone invest in our lives, and vice versa. If we are not be filled with God and His Family, we will seek it somewhere else.

I am clawing for relationships of depth.

I am loving the reassurance that God has made our relationships for more.

I am clinging to the Word of God that teaches us the truth about the relationships we seek.

Because the world we live in, it can treat us, as though, we are asking far too much of people. Just to have them be present in our lives. It can lead us to feel, as though, there is just something wrong with us.

Guilt-Free Relationships

But, we aren’t asking too much of people – to simply be present in our lives.

To invest in our lives.

To love us right where we are. Mess and all.

It is not too much. It is not a matter of us needing to settle for complacency.

It is a matter of reviving relationships beyond the superficial gunk that is just going to distract us from the things of God.

It is within these relationships of depth and substance, that we find our Savior Jesus standing, smiling, and welcoming to His table and to experience His Kingdom.

God has so much more in store for us.

… if we would just quit settling.

We Deserve… Frends

We don’t need more followers.

We just need friends.

Legit friends. Friends that are willing to take the time to be with us. Friends that are willing to pour themselves in our lives.

Because the truth is – we deserve to have friendships where we are being poured into – rather than being depleted. We deserve to not only encourage, but be greatly encouraged. We deserve people to step into our lives, when the world steps out.

We deserve to have friends who are willing to take us to Jesus no matter what the cost.

We deserve friends that look more like Jesus, rather than settling for the acquaintances of this world – who have nothing of substance to offer us in the long run.

We deserve people to can step into our suffering, and mourn alongside us.

We deserve friends that carry us to Jesus – no matter what the cost.

The Divided Road – Humility or Pride

Divided RoadThree months ago, I began to unravel this idea that our world won’t change until we do. I firmly believe this. Until the world comes to Jesus, the Christ, our world will not change. It is only, as we forsake sin and cling to Jesus – that the trends of our world begin to change.

If Jesus, our God and Savior, is not at the center, we will be on the wrong side of the road (so to speak). We will become people doing the opposite of what is best for us.

The choice is ours. Will we become a people that seek after God and put away our sin? This is a big message – for any of us. We need to consider the groundwork for our lives – humility versus pride.

The Showdown

This is a showdown that is evident in everyone’s lives. Not just your life is messed up. It’s everyone. We each have pride deep in our hearts that clouds our minds from the truth. This part of our heart becomes evident to all. You just can’t hide pride. It infects everything…

Truth: We will either have a heart of humility or pride. The outcomes are different: seeking Jesus or ourselves (and sin)… And, it affects everything.

Humility or Pride?

Humility and pride are two different life tracks.

In a heart of humility, we willingly seek God, accountability from other believers, and turn our lives around – knowing our relationship with God is more important.

In pride, we could care less about consequences. Our lives become about what we want. It is about getting our next “fix”.

Truth: We are no different than anyone else. We need to surrender our pride and ways to God through Jesus Christ.

Reflection

Knowing we wrestle pride, isn’t the end of our story. The grace and power of God is far greater.

Read Ephesians 2:1-5

I must choose.

What old desires, thoughts, and motives have I clung to (see Eph. 2:3) – even as I commit myself to Jesus, the Christ? Those things need to go. How is God growing me – and helping me learn how to live in a much better way?

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10, AKJV).