“A loving God would not allow bad things to happen to good people.”

photo-1429277005502-eed8e872fe52I hear you. I understand the confusion. The ways of God are difficult for us to wrap our brains around.

But that’s biblical faith, isn’t it?

Not understanding it all, and trusting Him still.

This is where He invites us in to know Him. He invites us to open up the words He strategically placed in the Bible so that we may understand Him more, even though we STILL will never understand Him fully until we enter the gates of heaven.

I have so often heard many statements questioning the goodness of God. And so often I want to point directly to scripture. And hear me say that I have been there. I have had doubts and questions. But as I seek to know Him more and actually read His word and read books or articles ABOUT His word instead of just guessing, I understand Him more.

“A loving God would not allow bad things to happen to good people.”

Not believing that God would allow bad things to happen to people that love Christ, is not believing that God is the God of the Bible.

This one is hard. I have heard this when people are suffering. I have heard it when people die.

First, you have to understand that no one is really “good”.  We are all sinners that fall short of the glory of God, which I’ll address in a minute.

Secondly, you have to understand that we will all experience death and suffering. Last I checked, no human has been alive since the beginning of time and is still going strong. You’re going to die. Your loved ones will die. It’s tragic and hard. Death is our disease from the devil. And YES God allows it to happen to us. But for the believer, we know that life under the sun is not the end. Death is not our end. We celebrate the earthly lives and eternal lives of our loved ones that know Him. Our ending is that we get to be with Jesus! And our pain and suffering on this earth are meaningful and we can still see the sovereignty and goodness of God through it all.

If you read the book of Job, you can see that Satan has to ask God for permission to bring death, pain, suffering, and misery into the life of Job. And God says yes.

And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. – Job 1:12

YES. A loving God DOES allow bad things to happen to those that love Him. Maybe our perception of love has been distorted by Hollywood. Maybe we need to look deeper into what the love of God actually is.

God allows “bad things” to happen to Job and these things knit Job’s heart closer to God in the end, because God loves us and wants our hearts. God was after the heart of Job the entire time. God is after our hearts when pain and suffering surround us. God is with us in our pain. He makes us long for a day when there will be no more sickness and disease in heaven with Him.

Here is Job speaking AFTER God allowed “bad” things to happen to him.

I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. … Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know… I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; – Job 42

And as Christians, we experience the sufferings of this world, knowing that our God is infinitely greater and working for our good the entire time.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

“I believe in God, but I think as society changes, God changes too.”

Let me just stop you there. Because no. This does not happen.

God is the only constant amidst all chaos on earth. He is, was, and will be.

He doesn’t look back and think, “Oh man, I shouldn’t have let them write that in the Bible. If only I could find a way to erase it! I know I’m God and all, but I just can’t figure out how to delete that part.”

No. Nope. His promises stand. He is unwavering and unchanging.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? – Numbers 23:19

What He says still stands today. And your opinions on how God should adapt to our society actually won’t affect Him at all. Your ideas are not better than His. Sorry. And if you believe that God changes with your society and your “profound” ideas, then you aren’t believing that God is the God of the Bible.

“I’m a pretty good person and don’t think I need anything to cleanse me of my sins, since I don’t really have any big ones.”

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. -1 John 1:8-10

Back to all people sinning and falling short of the glory of God. You might absolutely be a morally “good” person according to societal standards. You probably haven’t murdered anyone or committed adultery, right?

Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him 1 John 3:15

‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28

God goes deeper than what looks “good” on paper. He digs down into your heart. We are told that even if we have hated or been angry at another human, that we have committed murder in our hearts.

I HAVE BEEN ANGRY AT PEOPLE.

This is what He means when He says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

We have all lied. Been angry. Some of us have LITERALLY murdered people. The sin lists are endless.

We are all on an equal playing field here.

And Jesus so lovingly died on the cross to offer all to believe that His blood will wash away even the smallest of sins and largest of sins.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. –Ephesians 2:8-9

God doesn’t place us all next to each other and compare our “good deeds” with one another. He doesn’t say, “Okay. Top 25 people that have done good things will get into heaven, the rest of you are out of here!”

He offers His blood for the literal murderer and the person that has murdered in his heart. His compassion, and grace, and mercy wash over us and He offers us beautiful forgiveness through our faith. THAT is a loving God.

And He teaches us the sweetest lessons daily as we walk with Him and try to be more like Him.

Believing that you are not a sinner and that God doesn’t need to save you, is not believing in the God of the Bible.

“Okay. So if all of your sins are forgiven, can you just go sin and sin and sin for your entire life and then just ask for forgiveness on your deathbed?”

Kind of, but no. The only way that situation would work would be if God actually saved you on your deathbed and that was the moment that you believed or it was a genuine confession.

As believers, we are constantly being molded and changed by God. We are becoming more and more like Him. It doesn’t happen overnight. But it slowly happens. When someone is saved by Christ, we slowly start to see them yearn for more of Him. We see them desire to be more like Christ. We slowly see their lives change. While they still may be struggling with sin, it slowly trickles its way out of their lives. They are sifted. They are no longer slaves to their sin! They live under the grace and mercy of God and trust in His forgiveness. They become grateful for His love and desire to live a life for Him. We can recognize them by their fruits.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life… We know that our old self[a] was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin… 15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves,[c] you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness – Romans 6

“I believe some things in the Bible, but not all of it. A lot of the things in the Old Testament are hard to believe.”

Well, it doesn’t matter what you “think” about the Bible. Because the Bible just is what it is. You can’t wish things out of it. Did you just think that you can pick and choose which things God meant and which ones He didn’t? Do you think He is going to listen to your opinion and change things up a bit?

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. – Isaiah 40:8

I don’t know about you, but I serve a big God that knows EXACTLY what He wanted written. He is sovereign even over the tiniest details.

This is where actually taking the time to sit down and try to understand God’s word comes into play. If you took the time, you would understand how the Old Testament is the old covenant and that Christ came to fulfill the laws and give us the new covenant. If you have no idea what I am talking about, maybe it’s time to delve into scripture.

All this to say, try to understand Him more. Get to know Him more. Be cautious of making your own God instead of believing in the God of the Bible.  Get to know your God. Get to understand the way His love works. Trust in Him, even when the world around you is collapsing. Your God is steady. Your God is faithful. Your God will not abandon you. Your God is constant. Your God is steadfast. Your God is everlasting. Your God is the alpha and the omega. Your God is the beginning and the end. Your God’s kingdom will not be shaken. Your God is sovereign over all. Your God is powerful.

Your God is love.

Even when it doesn’t make sense.

He’s always been faithful.

This month has been hard. I feel as though my heart and mind have been physically wrung out. I recently entered into a season (hopefully a short season) of grief and pain. I have been surrounded by death and the hope for life. This month has been hard.

I felt anxiety try to wring out the peace and patience from my soul.

I felt sorrow try to wring out the joy from my heart.

I felt grief try to wring out the trust in God from my mind.

My body was physically and emotionally drained.

And yet, my God lingered still.

The Holy Spirit led me to force feed myself scriptures, even when I didn’t want to believe the words I was reading. Last night, I was worshipping and praying and pouring my heart out to my God. Desiring to trust in Him more, desiring to understand His ways, desiring to be comforted by Him.

And of course He lovingly responds. He reminded me of His story. His big picture. He reminds me that He was faithful to Joseph, Joshua, Moses, Rahab, Esther, Job, Hannah, Daniel, Mary, Paul, Peter, and the woman at the well.

Not only WAS He faithful. He is faithful STILL. Even though I can’t see it.

He restored the trust, peace, patience, and joy. He never let them leave me. He was faithful. He will be faithful to me.

He reminded me that I believe in a good God. I believe. I know. I am confident that He is a good, steadfast, faithful God.

And he is all I need.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. – Romans 12:12

I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard me cry. – Psalms 40:1

I remember your name in the night, O Lord. – Psalms 119:55

the story far greater than mine.

QoR8Bv1S2SEqH6UcSJCA_TeaA story.

We all have one.

Each believer has a story that tells of when and how Christ met them and saved them. Our different testimonies are all over the map. And somehow, we all place our story on a “most dramatic to least dramatic spectrum”. We mistakenly place value on stories. Some people have stories of redemption from drugs and alcohol. Some people have stories of God saving them from prostitution. Some people have stories of being saved when they were 9 years old. Some people have stories of redemption from living like a “good, moral person” instead of living in a relationship with Christ.

They are all beautiful, well written stories.

What saddens my heart, is when people are ashamed of their story. They place worth on their story.

I’ve heard women start their testimony with, “Well, I don’t have a really significant story but…”

On the other hand, I’ve seen women hold back from sharing because they are incredibly embarrassed of their life pre-Jesus.

I’ve seen women place themselves on this “dramatic” scale and compare their stories to those around them.

But guys, we are all part of the same story. The story of God. The story of redemption of man. The story of our mighty savior.

Not only that, but God wrote each little story of us within His larger story so delicately. He put effort into writing YOUR life. Be proud of who He is and what He has done in your heart regardless of what it looks like next to someone else’s. The value of your story lies in the value of your God. We need to have a kingdom view of our stories. If we don’t look at the bible as one big story, we miss out on the big picture of what God is doing.

For example, you can read the story of David and look at it as just this little guy with a little rock who became a murderer and then learned a lot in the process of seeking the Lord. OR you can look at the story of David as a small part of the bigger story, The Bible, our God. You can see God working in the life of David and how He carries out His promises from generation-to-generation. In the same way, we can look at our lives like this. We get the honor of having kingdom vision and get to see the work the Lord is doing through us for His glory, no matter our story.

In reality, we are all in need of Jesus just as much as the person next to us. The ex-prostitute and the 9 year old who will grow up in church her whole life are both sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God. They both need the blood of Jesus to cover them.

Let us be rid of the “dramatic” spectrum and hold on to the fact that we are all part of the same great drama.

We get the honor of being part of God’s story even when we can’t see the end result or how it all works together.

Praise God for your story! Thank you for using each of our lives for your honor and glory and for knowing us so deeply.

even the hairs of your head are all numbered -Matthew 10:30

a season of drought.

2c0343f7

I taste it often. The dryness. The thirst.

The desert.

I have been living in a desert for a few months now.

Where are you, God? Have you abandoned me? Why do I not feel your Holy Spirit?

Honestly, I have CHOSEN to live in the desert. I have chosen to not read His word. I have chosen to not get to know His character by reading about Him. I have chosen to watch The Real Housewives in my alone time instead of spending time on my knees in prayer.

There are absolutely seasons when God places us in the desert to mold us and sharpen us, but then there are times I choose to BE in the desert. Like, I just stay there and whine like a little girl throwing a temper tantrum instead of doing something about it.

Where are you, God? Have you abandoned me? Why do I not feel your Holy Spirit?

I AM HERE. You only need to seek me. Just come BE with me. Just come learn about me. Just come.

A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. – Psalm 63:1

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” -Jeremiah 29:13

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. -Hebrews 11:6

to the stay-at-home-mom, the dad in the Army, the busy business lady, the kid still in college, the preacher, and the fill-in-the-blank.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

You probably have a title. A title that either you or society have bestowed upon you. I hope you know that these titles do not hold your identity or worth. You are more than that. You have a job. You all have the SAME job. Here is your job description:

Love the Lord. Share the gospel. Show others the love of the Lord. Show others the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. We could go into more detail but you get my point.

Sometimes we forget our job.

We become wrapped up in the work that we are or aren’t doing and we recklessly measure our work next to the work that others are doing.

We look at the family that is able to adopt and feel like a failure because we can’t afford to.

We look at the people that write books about Jesus and feel like a failure because we can’t even comprehend writing one chapter, let alone an entire book.

We look at the dad that works in his hometown and prays at dinner with his family every night and we feel like a failure because we are busy protecting our country and just can’t be there.

We look at the business lady that is working incredibly hard to help provide for her family and we feel like a failure because we can’t afford to send our kids to the same schools that she does.

We look at the person that runs a non-profit to help the homeless and we feel like a failure because we wouldn’t even know where to start.

We look at the mom that gets to stay home and be involved in the community and show her kids firsthand what it means to serve the impoverished and we feel like a failure because we spend 40 hours a week in an office and pray for time to make a meal and take a shower.

We look at the missionary who sold their home to be in a high crime area of the world to spread the gospel and we feel like a failure because we have a church we have to teach in in our low-crime all-American neighborhood every Sunday.

Etc.

We forget that God has predetermined the boundaries of our dwelling place. He has put us in positions that we are in so that we may do our real job. Share the gospel. Show others the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. Don’t compare your work to the work of others, because in the end, it’s not even about work. It’s about your heart being deeply rooted in Christ and the work is just the outpour of it all.

I have a friend that has this beautiful outlook on the things we as believers do with our time. She works at a church youth group. She is literally paid to proclaim the name of Jesus. Her husband is a med student. He is not paid to proclaim the name of Jesus. But you know what she calls his time in medical school? His MINISTRY.

We need to listen to what God has called our ministry to be in our present situations. Where has He placed you? Who can you live out the gospel in front of? Co-workers? Your children? Your church? The homeless? The crime-ridden country across the ocean?

Your ministry may look completely different to that of someone else. But listen to God and not to the world. Listen to what He is calling you to. Try to see the big picture through His eyes.

God sees the tapestry being woven from the front. We are each pulling a thread and are so busy comparing the other threads to our own. It looks messy on this side of things. But to the Lord, it is a magnificent and intricately woven tapestry with all different sorts of threads.

When we see our lives through the eyes of God, the juxtaposition of different ministries becomes more clear and captivating. And our ministries finally become about Him.

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. –Ephesians 2:8-10

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.  For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,  so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: -Romans 12:3

the weary world rejoices.

snow-light

Let the first season that I am officially unimpressed with commercial Christmas commence!

Seriously.

I’m sick of songs about nicely wrapped presents. I’m sick of wanting the sparkliest dress to go to fancy cocktail parties. I’m sick of feeling this pressure to buy new clothes or earrings or toys or fancy wine accessories for the people in my life that already have so much. It’s not that I don’t love pretty wrapping paper or buying something fun for my mom because I thought about her, it’s the PRESSURE.

Upon realizing my distain for Christmas pressure, God has been revealing the sweetest things to me this season. He has opened up my eyes to people that really NEED gifts.

He has shown me the widowed mother that has to spend this time missing her spouse and answering tough questions from her children. He has shown me the neighbor who has had cancer in their body and doesn’t have family in this city and just really needs someone there for them. He has shown me the blind man that just wants someone to talk to him in front of Starbucks. He has shown me the neighbor that needs gas money to get home to see family.

He has shown me JESUS.

This is a time when we think on how the Lord fulfilled his promises to us in the Old Testament by bringing this sweet baby to save us of our sins. It’s a time to remember how terrified King Herod was that the promises were going to be brought to fruition. (That is HISTORY, not fable.) It’s a time to remember that Jesus was born (ALSO HISTORY!). It’s a time we remember WHY He sent a sweet baby. It’s a time to remember that I get to live like He sent a sweet baby.

I still enjoy the season. The trimmed trees, songs about snow, I even love beautifully wrapped presents. But take. that. pressure. away from me. I don’t want it. I don’t have room for it while I look for the needs of others and enjoy my God for sending His sweet savior to rescue a sinner like me.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for youfrom the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 Andthe King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”-Mark 25:34-40

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” -Luke 14:12-14

the gift of living without fear.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetWhat are you afraid of?
Heights? Drowning? Fire? That you might receive the news that your body has been consumed with cancer? The homeless man walking towards your car in a dark parking lot? Someone kidnapping your child at the park? That your husband might get into a car accident? Second-hand smoke? Being alone all your life?

If you search for words with the root word “phobia” in it, you will find hundreds! This means there are literally hundreds of things people are afraid of. And some people have a combination of multiple fears. I grew up with a phobia of strangers. I was taught to lock my car door if I ever saw a homeless man at the stoplight. I was taught to lock my front door. I was taught to not talk to strangers. I was afraid of strangers. I was afraid that a stranger would break into my room in the middle of the night.

(Also, I have a fear of spiders. But that is legit. Maybe I’ll call it a disgust for spiders instead.)

I am grateful that the Lord intervened and has slowly weaned me away from all of my unwarranted fears. He has taught me to smile at the homeless man on the corner, to love him, and to have a conversation with him. He has taught me not to be afraid of illness. He has taught me to have an open door to strangers.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t believe I have seen anywhere in scripture that I should be afraid of the things in this world.

You know what is NOT from God? Fear of evil.

That is solely from Satan. The only fear of evil we should have is that Satan could potentially lure us to partake in it.

You know what IS from God? Courage. Boldness. Risk. Braveness.

Listen to Paul here.

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:31-39

 

If that does not give you the courage to live fearlessly, I don’t know what will. I am 100% confident that no stranger breaking into my home, no form of cancer, no car accident, nothing will keep me from Christ. I have been given the privilege to rest in who He is and to trust Him. My God is FOR me. And if you have the mightiest God with you, who CAN be against you? So many followers of Christ in scripture experienced much worse than I ever have. They were persecuted for their faith, killed, afflicted, perplexed, and struck down. YET they were still courageous, bold, brave, and they spread that gospel like nobody’s business.

I so desperately want to be among those great men and women that stood up for the gospel without any fear.

I want to live with peace in my heart that I am always with the Prince of Peace. I want to live with the knowledge that if someone brings me harm, I am still with a God who cannot be shaken. I want to live in the freedom Christ has set me free for.

I want to live. I want to live. I will live.

the power of discipleship.

FullSizeRender

You’re called to it. Did you know that?

If you proclaim Jesus as your savior, you are called to be a disciple and to make more disciples.

First off, what does it mean to be a disciple? The greek word mathétés is translated in our english bibles as disciple. The definition of mathétés (according to the internet) is a learner, disciple, pupil. I’ve also heard the words apprentice and follower thrown out as well. So in order to BE a disciple, I must have a heart that is willing to learn and grow in maturity in my walk with God.

Now to MAKE disciples. This means I must be willing to teach and mentor. That is my call. That is your call.

I think discipleship freezes when we think we are not knowledgeable enough. We think we don’t have enough scripture memorized. We think we won’t know the answers when someone asks a tough question. We think we aren’t far enough in our walk with God to have words of wisdom to offer.

Well guess what? You don’t have enough scripture memorized, you don’t know all the answers, and you are still called to disciple others. 

You have been entrusted with literally the most wonderful news. And you need to teach others what you know. Mentor someone. Teach them the things you are learning. Tell them you don’t have all the answers.

Discipleship comes in all sorts of fashions. Sometimes it looks like leading a bible study. Sometimes it looks like teaching your children about Christ. Sometimes it looks like preaching in front of an entire church. Sometimes it looks like meeting a friend for coffee monthly.

It’s scary to disciple someone. My husband and I lead a bible study through our church and we constantly feel ill-equipped and we are scared often. We often wonder if we are doing things correctly or if we are providing correct scriptures to questions. We fail often but at the same time we are being obedient to what God has called us to and we trust that His grace will redeem the places where we are weak in discipling others.

Be confident in what God has entrusted you with. Even if you don’t have all the answers, it’s okay. None of us do. But we need to be the iron that sharpens iron for one another. Claiming the Lord as your savior means you are His disciple which means he has equipped you to make disciples. You are equipped.

Think of yourself as Obi-Wan Kenobi. You need to train up your apprentices well so that you may send them off to be an even better Jedi than yourself.

May the force be with you. The Jesus force.

*So cheesy. I am fully aware.*

 

“…Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:19-20

audience of one.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Quiet.

Can you recall the last moment you were utterly still?

If not, the waves may have consumed you.

The waves of the world that loudly crash upon you and drift you off to the seas of instagram pictures to compare your life to, to-do lists, the friends to maintain relationships with, having the best dressed baby, the Pinterest boards to prettify your home, and going into debt to have the most popular handbag of 2014 even though 2015 is two months away.

The waves get me often. I find myself trying to tread water to get back to the shore. The rock. The foundation.

I am thankful for pretty things on these little devices we hold in our hands. I’m thankful for the creativity God uniquely placed in each individual. But it’s easy to get caught up in it. It’s easy to covet handbags, bedroom decor, friends, vacations, and all the things of the world. Yes, I said it. COVET.

In everything we do, we need to look at the heart behind it.

We need to say, “Am I doing this to impress people? Am I doing this because I want the approval of people?”

OR

“Am I doing this with The Lord in mind? Am I living for an audience of one?”

How freeing it would be to live daily to only gain the approval of my God. How wonderful it would be to be silent and listen to Him instead of the world that is screaming at me to be better, prettier, and to get more done. The sole approval I should desire from the world is that they see Christ in me.

The world will always lie and tell you you are not enough. But Christ, Christ says, “Well done, child.”

So yes, go buy that handbag. But only if you see it as a beautiful gift that God has given you to hold all the other gifts from Him. He’s all the approval you need.

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? Mark 8:36

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17

follow your God. your dreams will follow suit.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I hear the phrase “Follow your dreams” tossed around a lot. It sounds so idyllic. As though it is a piece of cake to just do whatever I feel like I want to do.

Now if we are discussing literal dreams The Lord gives people or passions The Lord has birthed in hearts and it is hands down, no questions asked from God, then by golly you better fervently chase that dream. If you follow that dream, you aren’t actually following your dreams but you’re following your God.

But here is the thing about following your OWN dreams or desires, they may not be from God.

If I followed my own dreams I would probably be trying to make my own fame great. I would be trying desperately to please people and get them to like what I’m doing. I would want credit from the world for whatever I was doing. I would be comfortable. I would be rich.

I would not be denying myself and my wants daily.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. -Luke 9:23

Contrary to this phrase, I see in scripture The Lord making His people uncomfortable. He has them follow HIS dreams and plans.

If Jonah had followed his dreams, he would have escaped on a ship and Ninevah would have never heard the word of The Lord.
If Moses followed his dreams, he would not have gone back to tell Pharaoh to free his people.
If Hannah had followed her dreams, she would have had a baby when she wanted and not in the Lord’s timing.
If Paul had followed his dreams, most of the New Testament wouldn’t have been written.

God shakes things up. He takes us out of our comfort zone and reveals his sweet and perfect dreams for us and we aren’t always able to comprehend the purposes behind them.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. -Proverbs 19:21

My prayer today is that we be people of God that open up our hands to our dreams and surrender them to God.

I pray that rather than trying to make a name for ourselves, our hearts desire to make a name for our God.

And if God calls us to something, even if it is uncomfortable, that we run fearlessly into it knowing that our God is for us.

*{Some people might think of the verse referring to God giving us the desires of our heart as a reason to follow our own dreams. I would encourage you to really study that verse in depth and not take it at face value without context. Or we can talk about it!}.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.