You are renamed.

Today’s post is inspired by the study of Ruth from #shereadstruth and also what God is teaching me in my life. I’ve said before, and I’ll say it for the rest of my life, I know God wants me to be learning something when it is continually presented to me in my life, in various ways. Today’s post is inspired by #shesharestruth:

Is there a discrepancy between the names by which Jesus calls you and the names you give yourself? Are there circumstances in your life to which you are giving undue power, power that rightfully—and in reality!—belongs to our sovereign God alone? Sister, who names you today—your God or your circumstances? 

 

My whole life I have been a people pleaser. And this, my dear friends, is not a good thing.

I have only recently realized how this has changed my life, how it has negatively affected me, and how I have let it influence my relationship with Christ.

Because of my desire to live up to the ideas and standards others have for me, whether or not these are real or imagined, I have done a lot of things I never expected. Not that these are all bad, not that they have all been a negative experience, but there are things that have transpired that I wish I could take back, simply because of my desire to please other people.

So I’ve called myself broken, ugly, unloveable, unworthy, dirty – whatever negative name I think someone else may think of me in a various situation – in my sense of failing. Failing not just people, failing my God.

You see, in trying to please all these other people, I have lost sight of pleasing my God. Not that He calls me to earn my salvation through my works, but He yearns for me to honor Him through my life – my words, my actions, and my thoughts. And when I forget to serve Him through my life, I feel guilty about this unearned grace He offers me over and over, and I call myself hopeless.

And then, oh then God reminds me – that is what my story is all about!

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That is the story of the gospel!

Yes I am broken, but He puts the pieces together again and I am used as a perfect vessel for His work.

I sure am ugly, but He calls me beautiful in the light of His glory and grace.

Unloveable – all the time. But when I allow Him to work through me, I can love better, and be more able to be loved by those around me. And He loves me. He loves me in all my dirty sin. Oh, how He loves!

And you better believe I am unworthy – not only am I unworthy of life, a job, my friends, my family, all the material things I have, etc. – I am unworthy of His beautiful grace and mercy, His salvation and the relationship He longs to have with me. Oh friends, I am unworthy. He makes me worthy through the death of His son.

Dirty – the dirtiest. So unclean and so full of sin. But praise be to God, He calls me clean. He has washed me white as snow.

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I urge you to stop calling yourself these terrible names. For the following week, when you think a negative thought, immediately stop yourself and consider how God sees you. Tell yourself that 3 times in place of the time you would be hard on yourself.

Change your thoughts.

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You are not Your Circumstance

At #shereadstruth right now we are reading the story of Ruth (and Naomi).

Today we are reminded how

Naomi’s circumstances were indeed awful. She’d buried her husband, lost two sons and said goodbye to a daughter-in-law. She had no hope of a grandchild, no path of provision. “I went away full,” she said, “and the Lord has brought me back empty” (v. 21). Yet, there was no fist-shaking at heaven. No renouncing her faith. Naomi acknowledges God without blaming Him. She believed God was sovereign, even in her tragedy.

 

She still believed He was sovereign.

 

I think this is part of why I have been M.I.A. here on the blog.

I’ve felt unworthy of writing anything, just in a low place spiritually.

But, lately God has reminded me of who He is, and who that makes me.

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It doesn’t matter what are circumstances, what stupid thing we just did, what stupid thing we did years ago. We are renamed when we are His children. We are new, we are beautiful. We can continue to sing praises because despite how the world might try to name us because of our circumstances, He is still calling us beloved, redeemed, and precious. He is still calling us His child.

And He will never stop.

 

Bring it.

She Reads Truth is doing something new for Lent – every Friday the reader’s share their own thoughts on a certain passage of scripture. This is my response for the week. 

This week, we are reflecting on 1 Corinthians 2:1-5:

You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified. I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else. (Message Version, emphasis mine)

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As for myself, brethren, when I came to you, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony and evidence or mystery and secret of God [concerning what He has done through Christ for the salvation of men] in lofty words of eloquence or human philosophyand wisdom;For I resolved to know nothing (to be acquainted with nothing, to make a display of the knowledge of nothing, and to be conscious of nothing) among you except Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and Him crucified. And I was in (passed into a state of) weakness and fear (dread) and great trembling [after I had come] among you. And my language and my message were not set forth in persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom, but they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power [a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions and thus persuading them], So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God. (Amplified Version)

First impressions:

1. Paul wasn’t trying to impress the people of Corinth, he was just bringing the truth to them, plain and simple.

2. The message he had to bring came through, no matter how inadequate he felt, not matter how much he fumbled his words or screwed up in his own mind. God used him to bring the message that needed brought (I say that with the sass of a 13 year old cheerleader)!

So now what?

What is God calling you to, to which you feel totally inadequate or scared to death?

Let Him work through you today, in all you do.

 

 

image is from my brother! Follow him @an_idiot_abroad on Instagram!

Joshua – Be Strong, Be Courageous!

She Reads Truth is doing something new for Lent – every Friday the reader’s share their own thoughts on a certain passage of scripture. This is my response for the week. 

This week, we are reflecting on Joshua 1:8-9.

Let me start by saying, all of this must have been very providentially, as if God really wanted to teach me something. The same morning I read that the passage this week for #shesharestruth, I also started listening to a podcast series from Oak Hills Church (home of our boy, Max Lucado!) The series is called “Glory Days” and it is all about Joshua, how fitting. Here’s a list of the series so you can go watch for yourself:

So, those are all the sermons so far, and they cover more than just verses 8 and 9 from chapter 1. But Lucado talks a lot about who Joshua is and where he is coming from, what he is coming from, and where he is being called to in the future. I think knowing the context of a verse is important, no matter what passage you’re looking at.

Using my study Bible, I also gathered information about Joshua (the book AND the person) that I found informative:

  • Joshua was chosen as Moses’ successor,
  • The book outlines Joshua’s leadership of the Israelites,
  • Joshua was a military leader and a strong spiritual influence,
  • He was submissive to God, and was obedient to his call,
  • The book displays Joshua’s obedience.
  • (and Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho, Joshua fought the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down)

Verses 1-9 of the first chapter of the Joshua are the Lord’s Charge to Joshua. Joshua should’ve been mourning the loss of a great leader, Moses, but instead God asks him to RISE UP and lead the people of Israel.

Joshua obeys.

God calls Joshua to be strong and courageous and to lead the people and Joshua accepts. Then, the important part for us this week, God says,

Study This Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

God taught Joshua how to be obedient, strong, and courageous, and successfully carry out His plan:

  1. Be strong, be courageous – it’s not going to be easy.
  2. Obey the law God has given.
  3. Constantly read the word God has given, think about, dwell on it, claim it, etc.

We too need to do those things, with whatever it is God is calling us to do.

We move forward without fear, for if God is for us, who can be against us?

We obey His commands (especially in what He is currently calling us to do, that which is requiring we have faith and courage).

We read His written word to us, we dwell on it, and we let it direct us as we are strong and courageous in obedience.

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Are you ready? What is God calling you to do – big, small, easy, difficult?

 

image is from my brother! Follow him @an_idiot_abroad on Instagram!

A Second Chance (Jonah part II)

She Reads Truth is doing something new for Lent – every Friday the reader’s share their own thoughts on a certain passage of scripture. This is my response for the week. 

Last week (in part I), we saw how Jonah was given a calling, which he saw as an interruption, and ran the opposite direction from where God was asking him to go. We also saw in chapter 2 of Jonah how the prophet repented of his sin and God brought redemption.

This week we look at chapters 3 and 4.

In Chapter 3, God speaks to the Jonah a second time. He did not give up on Jonah. Oh, friends! Do you see that beautiful picture of redemption? We can ignore God’s plan for us, we can see His call as a interruption, but if we repent He will continue to call! He will continue to speak! He will not give up! But in our second chances, brothers and sisters, may we be like Jonah and obey the word of the Lord (Jonah 3:3).

The story of Jonah was never about Jonah.

The story of Jonah was never about the fish.

The story of Jonah is about the character of God.

So Jonah obeyed God, and then God brought repentance to the city of Nineveh. And Jonah was angry.

I can’t blame Jonah. Have you ever had someone hurt you, who doesn’t know Jesus? I have. Oh have I. And I have felt the need to pray for their salvation, and it makes me bitter, it makes me angry. Where is the justice? Jonah 4:1-4 says

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?”

No one can tell me they haven’t ever felt or done what Jonah has done. You know we are to love our enemies, we are to pray for their redemption. Oh we want God to be gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster when it comes to us. But our enemies? Oh heeeccckkkkk no!

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The challenge questions here is this: are you concerned more about your convenience or your calling?

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. (Matthew 12:38-42)

Our calling is something greater – we are to share with the world the salvation offered by Jesus – who laid in the belly of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights to give us a second chance.

photo credit to my brother, Daniel. Follow him on instagram @ an_idiot_abroad

Regrets and Redemption (Jonah Part I)

She Reads Truth is doing something new for Lent – every Friday the reader’s share their own thoughts on a certain passage of scripture. This is my response for the week. 

jonah 1

This week we were asked for #shereadstruth to discuss Jonah 1 &2.

The first thing I want you to do is forget all you know about Jonah – because what most of us know is about Jonah and the fish. There is so much more to know!

Did you know, Jonah is the prophet who Jesus Christ compares himself 

I immediately thought of a sermon from Steven Furtick of Elevation Church I had listened to a few months ago. I suggest you listen to it (click HERE).

Jonah was running FROM the Lord. You are doing one of two things in your life right now: running TOWARDS God’s will for your life, or you are running FROM the will of God in your life. Jonah refused to preach to Nineveh, where God had called him, and ran towards Tarshish.

When you hear the word of God, do you hear it primarily as an interruption or an invitation? Jonah saw God’s word to him as an interruption. You would have too: you’re a successful prophet, God is blessing your nation, and now you’re being called to minister to some ruthless people

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Jonah saw this instruction from God an interruption to what HE saw as his calling, so he ran from it. But don’t think you won’t (or haven’t ever) do the same. God might be calling us to something and we may be running from it. Read what Steven Collins shares about Jonah, Israel (where Jonah is from), and the city of Nineveh:

Jonah knew Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire which was an enemy and existential threat to the kingdom of Israel. Jonah, close to the inner politics of the Israelite kingdom, knew very well that if God destroyed Nineveh, it would be a tremendous boon to the kingdom of Israel and it would prolong the power and strength of the kingdom of Israel. Indeed, it could even restore more of the lost greatness Israel had enjoyed in previous times! However, Jonah already knew that God had been merciful to the kingdom of Israel in spite of its sins under Jeroboam II, so he also knew that God could conceivably be merciful to Nineveh as well…Jonah realized that if God could be so merciful to sinning Israel, he might be just as merciful with sinning Assyria. If Assyria survived, Jonah also realized its power would likely overwhelm Israel in the future. Jonah loved his nation and people, and he made a plan. He thought that if he was the person who was assigned by God to bring this warning to the Assyrians, the Assyrians could not repent if they never got the warning from him. Jonah reasoned his own refusal to go would result in God’s destruction upon Nineveh and Jonah’s nation, Israel, would be spared for a long time into the future. So Jonah decided to make sure Nineveh could not repent or be spared…by refusing to go to Nineveh to deliver the message that they needed to repent. (Steven Collins)

What are you calling your current situation? It becomes what you call it.

Call it and it’ll be it because God will speak life into it. Don’t call it what it seems to be, call it what God says it is. (Furtick)

And then the fish. That fish was sent by God and it swallowed up Jonah.

And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Jonah 1:17

Three days, three nights – just like Christ who spend three days and nights in the belly of the earth before rising again. And in Jonah’s prayer which begins the 2nd chapter, Jonah states, “salvation comes from the Lord,” (Jonah 2:9).

And with that, the Lord commanded the fish to let Jonah out. And God redeems.

In chapter 1 Jonah has excuses, in chapter 2 he has regrets:

Today’s excuses are tomorrow’s regrets dressed in disguise. (Steven Furtick)

I know this all too well.  I ignored God’s call about a year ago, and I ignored what He was asking me to do.I didn’t like where he was calling me, so I made excuses and I ran towards my own Tarshish. And then about 3 months ago, my excuses became my regrets. But, as Furtick puts it, God turned my misery into my ministry. God used my disobedience to bring me to where I am today – which is where this blog began, which is where my life started changing, where I started becoming who He created me to be.

 

 

JONAH

photo credit to my brother, Daniel. Follow him on instagram @ an_idiot_abroad

Psalm 38

She Reads Truth is doing something new for Lent – every Friday the reader’s share their own thoughts on a certain passage of scripture. This is my response for the week. 

This week we read a Psalm of David, titled “Do Not Forsake Me, O Lord.” We read Psalm 38.

The message speaks so boldly to my heart, it pierces it, and kind of sets me back and question how bold David is speaking to God. Look at the list of things David is going through (from the Message version of Psalm 38):

  1. He’s lost 20 lbs in 2 months (because of God’s accusation)
  2. His bones are brittle as dry sticks (because of his sin)
  3. He is swamped by his bad behavior
  4. He has collapsed under guilt
  5. Cuts in his flesh stink and grow maggots (because of how badly he has lived)
  6. He is flat on his face, feeling sorry for himself all day long
  7. His insides are on fire
  8. His body is a wreck
  9. He has had enough, his life is “a vomit of groans.”
  10. His heart is about to break
  11. He is burned-out
  12. Cataracts blind him to God and good
  13. Friends are avoiding him like the plague
  14. Family never visits
  15. Neighbors stab him in the back
  16. Competitors defile his name, praying for his ruin

Aye, aye, aye! And we thought we had it bad! Part of me wants to think David is being a bit dramatic, but then I realize who David was and what he had done. See 2 Samuel 11 to read about David and Bathsheba.

But this is not where it ends! David closes out his list of troubles with a plea. He says:

But I’m deaf and mute to it all, ears shut, mouth shut. I don’t hear a word they say, don’t speak a word in response. What I do, God is wait for you, wait for my Lord, my God – you will answer! I wait and pray so they won’t laugh me off, won’t smugly strut off when I stumble (he lists a few more problems)… Don’t dumb me, God; my God, don’t stand me up. Hurry and Help me; I want some wide-open space in my life! (Psalm 38:15-22, MSG).

David chooses to let it go, to stop believing those around him and the lies of the enemy, and to remember that his God is the God who saves, who forgives, and who redeems. This Psalm reminds us that through our sorrow for our sin we can find HOPE in God – the source of healing, redemption, grace and mercy.

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We can dismiss the mocking of other sinners, and we can turn a deaf ear and keep our mouths shut as we wait upon the Lord.

See last week’s #shesharestruth post – Psalm 130

photo credit to my brother, Daniel. Follow him on instagram @ an_idiot_abroad