The Faithful

I met a young man the other day

Who’s heart was big and his mind bigger

But the world had crushed him

His lack of comradeship  bruised him

And all the sorrows he’d faced

That had in the end made him so bitter

Had blinded him to his need

Helped him believe in a lie

.

It’s the lie we so willingly believe

As sinners we are never to blame

It’s always the family that never listens

My unappreciative job

It’s the fact that no one notices me

Or my personality

And so I’m never offered love

That’s why I am the way I am

And you can’t blame me

Until my life changes I’ll be miserable

If only

If only

If only

.

My heart bled for this young man

Who thought the answer was to get a wife

He was so lonely, so hurting

So blinded by the lie

But I knew the truth

I knew what he needed

He needed to confess his sins to Jesus

And let God take the reins

Let God take over

Let God take care of him

He needed the LORD

.

But did I speak?

Did I say a word of truth?

No, I was too afraid

I was afraid of how silly it would sound

I was afraid of what others might think

And how could I pretend to know

What God wanted to do?

But I knew it, I knew

God wanted me to speak

And when the opportunity left

When he walked away

I felt the shame fill me

I am not part of the faithful

.

So now I pray for him, this young man

And pray that the next Child will not be afraid

Will not be selfish and keep the truth away

Will not keep away the joy found in the LORD that day

I pray that God will forgive me

Will help me to be faithful to Him

For He forgives

And He is Faithful

And He is my Father

And I want to share Him with others

Let them know this joy of the LORD

I want to share Him

I hope you do too

.

LORD God in Your mercy

Bring this son of yours home

LORD God in Your mercy

Teach me the way of the Faithful

~

16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”~ John 3

26“So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.28Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.b 30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

32“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” ~Matthew 10

“11Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him,

we will also live with him;

12if we endure,

we will also reign with him.

If we disown him,

he will also disown us;

13if we are faithless,

he remains faithful,

for he cannot disown himself.” ~2 Timothy 2

Food For Thought: God is Worth It

Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes it feels like every day has a vendetta against you, that every person is trying to push you to the limit, that life itself is fighting to make you miserable. It’s just one thing after another, and no matter how hard you try to fight your own sour mood you keep falling down deeper and deeper into the gloom until at last you just don’t want to try anymore.

And then you wake in the morning and you know you need to read your bible, but you just don’t feel like it. What difference will it make, really? God already sees you and knows you, and He obviously is okay with your life being garbage, so what’s the point?

The point of reading your bible is not so that God will see you. It isn’t as though opening the book sends out a beacon of light and God says, “Oh look, a faithful servant! I wonder how he/she is doing today.” God already knows how you are, where you are, and most importantly He wants to be a part of your life. And aren’t these the very words of God? Consume them, they draw you closer to His throne.

The point of reading your bible isn’t to magically make you feel better, to automatically fix your life. If all you care about is being happy go watch Hallmark movies—24/7. If you’d read your bible you’d know that 1). God wants a real, deep relationship with you, 2). Your purpose is to glorify God, 3). Suffering is a part of life, and 4). God works together all things for the good of those who love Him. So, read your bible, it will help you understand the Lord and encourage you in your walk with Him.

Not everyone in the bible had everything is easy and happy. There are plenty of instances of people who shared your situation, many times ten times worse. But when they turned to God as their Rock, He helped them through it, in whatever way He saw fit to do so. David before he became king was chased by Saul for eleven years, Job suffered for ‘no apparent reason’ and the only answer he received was that God is God—and yet God blessed him all the more abundantly when the suffering came to an end.

So here is my encouraging passage for you who are having a rough day, week, month, whatever it may be. Be encouraged and go to God. He is always worth it.

 

1Vindicate me, my God,

and plead my cause

against an unfaithful nation.

Rescue me from those who are

deceitful and wicked.

2You are God my stronghold.

Why have you rejected me?

Why must I go about mourning,

oppressed by the enemy?

3Send me your light and your faithful care,

let them lead me;

let them bring me to your holy mountain,

to the place where you dwell.

4Then I will go to the altar of God,

to God, my joy and my delight.

I will praise you with the lyre,

O God, my God.

 

5Why, my soul, are you downcast?

Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God,

for I will yet praise him,

my Savior and my God.

~Psalm 43

Food For Thought: Examination

“Turn to Him so He can… send you wonderful times of refreshment from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19

I saw this posted on facebook today, a picture of one of those calendars with encouraging quotes from scripture. But something didn’t sit right with me when I read it. It’s not that the statement isn’t true; we need to turn to God, and in His presence is many blessings. However, why are there dots so close to the beginning? It makes it sound like the reason we turn to Him is so that we will receive good things. The use of dots in a scripture verse should always make you pause, because maybe it isn’t saying something quite right. And so I looked up the verse in the ESV bible.

“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,” is what Acts 3:19 says fully. Doesn’t sound much like what was posted, does it? Looking at the context, I see that this is Peter’s second sermon to the Jews, telling them about Jesus. That is the point of this; to repent of their sins, not to have wonderful lives. This is from verse 17 through 21.

“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.”

Yes, there are times of refreshing in His presence when we turn to Him, but we must never forget the center of salvation: Christ. It is by Christ that we can come into God’s presence, it is by Him our sins are blotted out forever, it is by Him that we are free. And God provided Him for us.

So, please take everything you read and hear with a grain of salt. Examine what is taught you, especially when Scripture is involved. Repentance from sin is important, God’s presence is important, and Christ is important. Let’s not forget or cut any of that out.

Have a good weekend!

Food For Thought: Repentance

“1Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”

4“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

8Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11And he said, “Who told you that you were naked?” ~Genesis 3

God’s perfect creation now crumbles. I don’t know where the serpent came from or how it became wicked, that much God has not disclosed to us, but it was there to deceive mankind. It spoke with Eve, not Adam, although it was obvious that he was there. The serpent asks Eve if it was true that God had commanded they not eat from any tree in the garden. Eve quickly defends God, saying they could eat from any tree except for the tree in the middle. And she adds something that is not mentioned beforehand—they weren’t even allowed to touch it. I’ve heard some people say that Adam had to relate to her the commandment after she was created but he added that to make absolutely sure she wouldn’t go near it. This explanation has never made sense to me, because 1. In chapter one of Genesis, God gives the commission to be fruitful and to subdue the earth to both the man and woman and He also tells them that He’s given them all the plants for food. Granted, when it says that He forbids the eating of the tree of good and evil, it only mentions that Adam is there, but if He gives the commission to both of them then why wouldn’t He mention the tree being forbidden to both of them as well? But the real reason that I don’t agree with this explanation is 2. It is wrong to add to the words of God. In Deuteronomy 4:2 it says, “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from I, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.”

Why Eve adds to it here I don’t claim to know, but I think perhaps it was because she was trying to defend God. She was trying to make it absolutely clear what He had said so much that she bent the truth a little. I know I’ve done that, felt like someone was attacking something someone said but they didn’t have all the information, and so I try to defend what was said as forcefully as I can, perhaps over exaggerating to do so. Or perhaps it was a sign of her already doubting because of the odd question put to her. In any case, the serpent is quick to reply with both blatant lies and half truths. The lies are, ‘you will not die,’ and ‘you will be like God.’ They certainly would die because God told them they would. And they were already ‘like God’—He’d created them in His image. The half truths are, ‘your eyes will be opened’, ‘knowing good and evil.’ This last one is a half truth because firstly, they already knew what was good and secondly, not only would they know evil but they would become a slave to it. It isn’t the recognizing evil that is sinful, but the committing of it. I think that if God had given them permission, they would not have become slaves to wickedness, but because they committed the sin they did. They had a choice of two masters, obedience or sinfulness, and they chose a side. Both of them did.

When their eyes are opened the first thing they become aware of is their nakedness. At first glance, it might be interpreted that being naked is evil and that’s what their eyes were opened to for the first time. But, if being naked had been wicked then God would not have made them that way. Instead what they saw was their sin and how much it was exposed to both God and to one another. Their remedy is that they attempt to cover themselves. The intimacy they once shared with one another has been marred; they no longer trust one another like they used to. And the joy they once had at hearing God walking in the garden turns to fear and they hide from Him. As God speaks with them we get a sense of God’s gentleness and how He is giving them every opportunity to repent, but neither of them does. Instead they point the finger at one another, at the serpent, at even God, but never admitting their own wrong. And so God curses them and the earth. But even then His love shines through because He gives Eve the promise that one day one of her children will bring salvation to the world.

As we read the rest of the bible, we see that these themes keep reoccurring; command, doubt, sin, shame. But the people that repent and trust again in the Lord are His, like King David or Jonah. And then we learn in the New Testament of Jesus fulfilling that promise to Eve. He breaks the power of sin and death for all who repent and proclaim Jesus as Lord over their lives. How wonderful it is to know that we no longer have to be a slave to the wicked master, but can instead choose to obey God! And that ought to make us all the more long for the day of His return, when all things are made new and sin no longer is in the world.

So be encouraged. You don’t have to be a slave to sin, but even if we do sin we have Jesus interceding on our behalf in the throne room of grace.

Have a blessed week!

~

“5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” ~1 John 1 &2

Food for Thought: God Provides

‘18The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

19Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called ‘woman,’

for she was taken out of man.”

24That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

25Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.’

The beginning of this passage has always been interesting to me. This is the first time that God says that something is not good, and it is before the fall. It is not good for man to be alone. Why does God wait for this moment to bring this up? Obviously God knew that it wasn’t good and who would be a suitable helper for Adam, but He chose not to just directly do it like He had for the rest of creation. Up until this point He had provided all that Adam could possibly need and then some, as said previously:

“8Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12(The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.”

He provided a garden full of good trees, rivers of water, one of which had gold and resin and onyx—really, what need had Adam of such things at that time? But it was signs of God’s immeasurable desire to bless Adam abundantly. He isn’t just about providing needs but giving gifts. He gives everything to Adam, there is nothing that man does not lack. Except a suitable helper.

Yet even when God ‘comes to this conclusion’, He still doesn’t act to fix it right away. First He brings the animals to Adam for Adam to name. Something that is learned from the Old Testament is that whoever names another has dominance over that person, like when God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. It is interesting that God doesn’t name His own creation but leaves that honor to Adam. And it is in this way that it is ‘discovered’ that out of all the animals there still is no suitable helper for Adam.

Now at last God acts, but again He doesn’t act in the way He has with the other creation. With most of creation He spoke them into being or He manipulated what He already had formed to move aside (like the water for the dry land). In Adam’s case, He formed him out of the dirt of the earth and breathed into him life. But He doesn’t do that here. He first puts Adam into a deep sleep, and then cuts into him, removing a rib from his body. It is out of Adam’s rib that the woman is formed. And Adam is fully aware that he lost a rib in this process, because he says, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” This is the whole reason why he names her woman. This makes me wonder if he was in pain from the surgery or if his loss was just very noticeable. Imagine you had lost one of your ribs, I’m pretty sure you’d notice.

I wonder why God chose to create woman this way. Some have said it is because of symbolism; all the time I hear about how a woman protects a man’s heart or that the man needs to keep her close to his heart as his equal. Perhaps so, but God gives another reason for it in the next verse: “24That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” The man leaves his family to become united with his wife, they become one flesh. They complete one another, but also it is referring to the idea of loss. The man is losing something to gain the woman.

I am not pretending to understand this, but it does make me think of in Ephesians, the fifth chapter. Paul is talking about the roles of the wife and husband. The wife has a very small list, but the man is given a much bigger one. And the theme in his commands? To be like Christ and how He serves the church. And Christ gave up A LOT to gain her. He sacrificed his home, He lived among us as a human, and ultimately gave the ultimate sacrifice to make us pure. Whenever I read the passage in Ephesians, I suddenly don’t envy men their role given in the sight of God. In fact I feel the burden for them and wonder how in the world they manage it. Of course, the answer is God.

So be encouraged today, all you readers. I know I covered a lot of ground in this passage J I talked about how much God wants to bless us abundantly as His children and I talked a lot about the role of man and woman. I just wanted to stress that I do not believe that marriage is for everyone, this is not a devotional intended to make you feel sorry for yourself if you are single. Instead be encourage; God provides all you need for life, and whatever you are lacking He knows about it. He will provide for you, and sometimes you don’t even know what it is exactly or how He will accomplish it. He might drop it into your lap like He did for Adam in the garden, or He might take you through a process that ultimately makes you have to lose something to gain it. But whatever He does, it will be worth it. Just trust in Him.

Have a wonderful week!

~

“14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” ~Ephesians 3

“21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” ~Ephesians 5

 

Food for Thought: For Work

My reaction to the word ‘work’ has usually been ‘ug’, unless it was for money or I was bored out of my mind.  I think of the strain it has on my mind or body and all I can think is “I would rather be doing–” whatever it may be, such as watching a movie or writing or sleeping or whatever.  And then Sunday comes and I’m like “Yes!  A day of rest!”  But more and more I’ve been becoming convicted as I read my Bible: this isn’t what God wants.

I’ve been reading the creation account in Genesis, and believe it or not this is one of the places I feel convicted. This is from chapter two:

“1Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

2By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

4This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

5Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

Before this, God has been very active, creating the universe and everything in it, down to the very last detail. In each ‘day’ He plans, He works, He surveys it to make sure it is good, and then He rests for the next day. For six days He did this until it was done, and He rested on the seventh day, and He set apart that day to always be a day of rest.

What do we learn about God? He works and He keeps the seventh day as a rest from all of it.

After we are told this the account seems to go backwards to give a bit more description. The plants have not yet grown because there has been no water and there is no one there to work the ground… Hold on, why does there have to be someone to work the ground? This is paradise, right? There shouldn’t be any work, there should only be an easy life and worshipping God, right? This is very often how we think of paradise, a place of eternal rest. But that is obviously not God’s intent for mankind. Adam was created to work. In the first chapter, God gives Adam and Eve this commission:

‘28God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”’

That was the beginning purpose of mankind. To increase, subdue the earth and rule over it. And guess what, that requires work. Suddenly I’m asking myself: “Do I work six days a week?” If the answer is no, which it usually is, I know that I must not be doing something I should. God created me for this, not for laziness. Not only that, but He desires that the seventh day be kept holy. This is even mentioned in the Ten Commandments:

8“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20)

Did you catch that? In verse 9 He says, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work.” We are commanded to be working six days and then resting.

Now I know that not everyone’s rest day is Sunday, and technically the Sabbath is on Saturday. But I do think we ought to take a day each week to rest from our work and to remember God. Also, I know that not everyone can do physical labor—I don’t think everyone is called to be a gardener. But each of us are given a gift from the Lord, and He has placed us in situations in which we can be working. So let me just encourage you to work for Him in any way you can, for when you do that you can truly honor the day of rest.

Have a blessed week!

~

“23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” ~Colossians 3

‘23One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

25He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”

27Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”’ ~Mark 2

Food for Thought: God Created

I’ve been reading slowly and comprehensively Genesis 1 ever since I got back from Urbana. While there, they taught us how to do an Inductive Bible study. First you read the passage and make observations, even the most simple. Then you ask about things that are confusing to you, and then you end with these two things: “What does this passage tell me about God?” and “How do I apply this to myself?” I was already familiar with this method of learning because my youth leader did this in Sunday School/Youth Group, but I felt compelled to do this more in my individual bible study time. I thought perhaps that I was moving through the first chapter much too slow, that each point of creation has the same message to tell, but I’m glad I am taking my time. Even if it is the same message essentially, it is good to be reminded over and over about who God is and what that means for me.

Today I read about Him creating the lights in the sky. “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.’ And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning—the fourth day.” ~Genesis 1:14-19.

First I observed that the subject of the passage is light. He wants to make more light as a distinction between day and night, light and darkness. Something else I noticed was that part of their purpose was to be signs of sacred times; this was before the fall, so what were these sacred times? It seems to me that in forming the stars He already had the fall in mind. Also, these lights weren’t really needed before this; He had made day and night without the moon and sun, He had separated the land and the sea, and planted the vegetation on the earth. It seems to me that His purpose in putting them there was to create even more light.

All of this tells me a few things about God. 1. He is all knowing. 2. He is purposeful in His creating; nothing is done willy nilly or foolishly. And 3. God loves light more than darkness. He didn’t have to put lights in the night and it still would have been dark, still would have been night. But He didn’t desire that.

What does this tell me to apply to myself? First of all I can trust God to be God. He is the creator, He has a good and perfect plan, and so I can trust Him with all things. Secondly, I should be purposeful in the work of my hands, whether it be when I’m at work or when I am creating a document. I want people to read whatever I write and know there was a purpose behind it. And thirdly, I should desire the light more than the darkness; to put it plainly, I should choose the Spirit over my fleshly desires. God wants me to be a light in a dark world, He wants it for all His children. He doesn’t need us, but He wants us.

I hope you can say that you trust God. I hope that you are purposeful in whatever you do. I hope that you are choosing the Spirit, the Light, rather than the flesh and the world, the Darkness.

Have a blessed week!

~

14“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” ~Matthew 5

“31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. ” ~1 Corinthians 10

“16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” ~John 3

Food for Thought: Being Shy

“47And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” ~Matthew 5

I have always been shy, for as long as I can remember. I would listen to people talk but then feel very awkward and uncomfortable if anyone gave me any sort of attention. As a result, I’ve grown up feeling like I would rather avoid as much ‘stranger danger’ contact as possible. If I go for a walk I look down when a car passes or I adjust my route if I see that I might cross paths with another person. I’ve always felt a little guilty about it and sometimes I’ve tried to make the change of smiling and saying ‘hello’, but then I draw back inside, finding the place of being comfortable, lined with flecks of guilt.

Some part of me has always seen my shyness as some kind of sin. I know that it really isn’t, but I treat it like it is anyway. I don’t speak easily to people, how can I share the gospel then? I would rather not look up and smile, how is that showing God’s love? I don’t know what to say in the instant, how does that fit with always being ready to give a reason for the hope I have (1 Peter 3:15)?

And in the past, I would read the end of Matthew 5 and feel guilty about it. “43You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” I would read this and somehow always come up with ‘I need to be more outgoing’, because obviously to be perfect like God you need to be able to talk easily and be super friendly, right?

That’s what I used to read whenever I read the passage. But when I reviewed it again for writing the poem for Tuesday’s post, I realized that isn’t what the passage is saying at all. In context, Jesus is talking about friends verses enemies. He’s saying that we need to take notice of others, be kind to them, just as God is kind to us. We are living in a time right now when God is showing mercy to both the ‘good’ and ‘bad’—how much more should we be willing to show mercy? I realize now that God isn’t burdening me to be more outgoing in this passage, but He’s explaining again the calling we have as Christians: that we love one another, just as Jesus said in John 15.

So be encouraged, all you out there that are shy like me. I know that God created all personality types for a reason and He doesn’t despise any of them. But there is a calling we all share: to love one another, good or bad.

9“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17This is my command: Love each other.” ~John 15

Have a blessed weekend!

Food For Thought: Let it be

“Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.” ~Daniel 11:35

I woke up this morning still feeling groggy.  All I could think about was getting some things done that I knew should get done.  And so I walked downstairs, trying to wake up enough to start doing them.

That’s when I encountered a family member, equally as determined to get things done, and so focused was he that he was getting flustered by anything hindering him.

His inward annoyance started rubbing off on me and so I didn’t want to be faced with him anymore.  I decided to just take a shower while he was off doing something.

Turns out he wanted the bathroom first.

As I hurried taking my shower, I felt angry thoughts flying through my head, convincing myself that he was being ridiculous and unfair.  I got out within five minutes, irritable.  I made my way upstairs– and then I let myself go in a torrent of tears, sick of the heavy burden anger had laid on me.  I knew I was being selfish, that I shouldn’t be placing blame on him.  I knew it was all just a big misunderstanding.  I read Daniel 11 at random, and the above passage really stuck out to me.  The appointed time will happen.  It reminded me that God has an agenda.  That He means all things for the good of those who love Him.

My sister later came to make sure I was alright.  She said that he was in a better mood now and I should try to keep him that way, not be mad at him anymore.  And what was my first thought? No one tried to keep me in a good mood.  I instantly regretted the selfish thought.

The truth of the matter is, things sometimes happen.  Sometimes two people’s plans collide, butting heads instead of uplifting each other.  Sometimes the sky is gloomy outside instead of blue.  Sometimes it’s too hot or too cold.  Sometimes you realize just how ugly the world is that you live in.

The real question is, are you going to blame others or circumstances for your negative mood?  Or are you going to say, “Despite this I’m not going to be mad.”  Are you going to go at it alone in self pity, or are you going to dive in holding the hand of family, friends, and God?  Are you going to go out in selfishness and hatred, or love and mercy?

In the end all we can really say is, “God, let Your will be done.  Let it be.”  Because even if we don’t, it’ll happen anyway.

~

“13for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” ~Philippians 2

“6For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  7He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.  9Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.  10For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  11Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.” ~Proverbs 2

“5Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” ~Proverbs 3

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps.” ~Proverbs 16:9

Food For Thought: Maturity

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” ~1 Corinthians 13:11-12

Something that I’ve been realizing about myself is that I assume things.  I assume things will just happen without putting any real effort into it.  I noticed it first when I graduated high school.  I decided not to pursue college and thought that since I’d have all the time in the world I’d be able to spend half of every day in studying the Word and the other half in writing my book and poetry.  Well, when I was left alone at home, it didn’t happen.  I found that I only wanted to be lazy, playing games and watching movies, and as a result I became very depressed and lonely.  I had just assumed I would automatically do the ‘right’ thing, but in reality I only gave into lazy desires.

Then again more recently, when I got hired for my first job, I knew that I had some bad habits, playing games too much.  But I assumed that since I would be working nights, I would have less time to be lazy and focus my energies more on what mattered.  But what actually happened was that I would stay up even later to make time for my games, I would focus my energy on what didn’t matter because I was ‘tired’.

In the verse above, Paul says that when he was a child he thought and acted like a child.  When he became a man he put away the childish things from him.  From that one verse it sounds so easy, like just throwing off old clothes that don’t fit anymore into a trash bin.  But growing up really isn’t that easy.  It is a long and painful process.  It should never be just assumed to happen.

And that is the same with spiritual maturity.  We shouldn’t just assume that as we get older we will automatically get closer and closer to God.  Just because we go to church, we shouldn’t assume we know God or that we are being fed enough.  As the verse above says, now we know in part but there will be a time when we will understand fully.  That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t try to understand fully, even now, God.  But it also means that I can’t assume that I ever do know God fully now.  We need to be grown ups in faith, in knowledge.

11We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” ~Hebrews 5

19Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” ~Romans 16

Have a blessed weekend and yearn for the solid food of life and the knowledge of God.