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2017, the year of no internet posting

in faith / lifestyle

I’ve devoted more time and energy to screens instead of faces for a long time. By God’s grace I have always held it in good balance. I haven’t idolized social media as a way for validation or affirmation. I know who I am in Christ.

But, in a social-media age, it’s even easier for us to be disconnected or disengaged people. People can follow us or friend us without really knowing us. Relationship connections are easy, but if we aren’t careful they can become quite shallow. We now can build a platform or become an influence in others lives just by amassing Twitter and Instagram followers.

I certainly don’t view social media or any form of technology as inherently bad, of course. They can be creative outlets and fun interaction, and they can certainly be used to glorify God, but in this current season, I cannot underestimate the great value of a faithful life lived on the ground and in the ordinary.

This year, 2017, I want to love and know Him more — more completely, more fully. I want to be present for the people around me; to love and listen to and be in the trenches with them better. I want to dig deep into His purpose for me since He knit me together: to radiate and present His glory to the world and to enjoy Him forever.

This is currently a good decision for me, this is not meant to lay on guilt or conviction, that’s not my job. We each have our decisions to make and lives to live.

For me personally to get what my heart longs for, it means a change in where I invest my time, specifically time on the internet, specifically time prioritizing the creation of encouraging, creative, appealing, and helpful online accounts.

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experiencing God in everything

in faith

Loving God with all our mind means that our thinking is wholly engaged to do all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things. John Piper

It’s amazing how uncluttered and settled my heart becomes when I savor Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit.

When I relish in the Truth that I am deeply loved, adored, cared for. That I have a rich and valuable purpose on this earth to spread God’s glory.

God is the greatest thing that exists, ever has existed or ever will… for us to glory in anything else, would be sin, as there is nothing greater than God, there is no calling greater than praising God. John Piper

How much sweeter does a moment become when our efforts, desires, and energies are given to Someone outside ourselves.

We are free. Free to love selflessly, free to give generously, free to choose joy instead of discouragement, faith instead of fear.

All of real life is in God.

When I recognize that God is the greatest thing that exists, when I talk to Him as such, when I think about Him as such, it transforms my being.

I will not live and die by the approval of man, but lose myself joyfully in praising God.

I will not be mastered by sinful tendencies, seduced by worldly pleasures, but will stand strong on the rock of God’s promises to fill me up and satisfy me with things much better.

I will not be so easily offended, but will surrender my causes and concerns to a God who knows best.

Father, help me treasure You above everything else.  Please teach me what it looks like to adore You.

Jesus’s longing and goal is that we see his glory and then that we be able to love what we see with the same love that the Father has for the Son. And he doesn’t mean that we merely imitate the love of the Father for the Son. He means the Father’s very love becomes our love for the Son—that we love the Son with the love of the Father for the Son. This is what the Spirit becomes and bestows in our lives: Love for the Son by the Father through the Spirit. What Jesus wants most for Christmas is that his elect be gathered in and then get what they want most—to see hi glory and then savor it with the very savoring of the Father for the Son.

I love the language of Advent. The adoring of Jesus can thrill your heart if you let it. Even though I’ve been a Christian for a long time, I’ve never experienced Him like I am these days. His Spirit has been super gracious is revealing new Truth to me, setting fire in my soul for God. The above quote is from Desiring God’s “Good News of Great Joy” Advent readings.

making choices like Jesus would

in faith

Thanksgiving week this year was full. Full of family, laughter, conversations, shooting guns, being outside, delicious food, a few tears, lots of grace.

I was driving out to my parents’ house asking Father for help. God, please give me wisdom and discernment in my choices. Bless our families with good quality time and rich conversation. Be honored by our words and actions and thoughts. In His goodness, He gave me a visual.

Two sisters, different personalities. Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet while busy bee Martha is frazzled and distracted.

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” v. 41-42

The greatest possession is close fellowship with the Lord as our ‘portion’ in life, says the ESV Study Bible. “It will not be taken away from her” — neither now to help Martha in the kitchen, nor for all eternity.

And Father said, stay at my feet, stay close, rest and trust Me. 

Instead of feeling like my mind is distracted and frazzled and busy like Martha, trying to please everyone and make the perfect choice.

Jesus was a man who lived on this earth. He walked, talked, overcame, felt physical needs, spent time with other humans. He valued close fellowship with his Father.

“Jesus came to reveal God to us. He is the defining word on God—on what the heart of God is truly like, on what God is up to in the world, and on what God is up to in your life. An intimate encounter with Jesus is the most transforming experience of human existence. To know him as he is, is to come home. To have his life, joy, love, and presence cannot be compared. A true knowledge of Jesus is our greatest need and our greatest happiness. To be mistaken about him is the saddest mistake of all.”

To experience him and learn about him and know him is transformative.

God is cultivating in me a longing to know Jesus like I know my best friend or my husband.

To wonder about him when doing mundane tasks. To imitate how he speaks to both friends and strangers. To prioritize life as he prioritized life. To learn how he responds well in tricky situations. To love him by my service. To listen to him. To learn his mannerisms and tendencies. To know his heart.

I’m reading a book by John Eldredge called Beautiful Outlaw, about Jesus and his personality. All the quotes in this post are found in the book. It’s an interesting read.

He woos, he confronts, he delivers, he heals, he shoots straight, and then he uses intrigue. He lives out before them the most compelling view of God, shows them an incredibly attractive holiness while shattering the religious glaze.

I’m learning it this way… Holy Spirit is God in us; He is companion, wisdom, comfort, guide, and more. Jesus is our example for life; He lived a life that pleased God. Jesus is our brother to learn from. God is Father; He is creator, judge, powerful.

The purpose of his life, death, and resurrection was to ransom you from your sin, deliver you from the clutches of evil, restore you to God – so that his personality and his life could heal and fill your personality. Your humanity, and your life. This is the reason he came. Anything else is religion.

I sometimes underestimate the power of knowing Jesus as if he was a physical person in my life today. I sometimes underestimate the stories of the Bible.. passages that tell of his expressions, his words, his way of being, his view of the world.

The purpose of his life, death, and resurrection was to ransom you from your sin, deliver you from the clutches of evil, restore you to God – so that his personality and his life could heal and fill your personality.

Forgive me, Father. Thank you, for sending Jesus to live perfectly and die sacrificially.

television is losing its lure

in faith

“Idolatry is when you become the source of your own joy. Poverty of spirit is a wonderful thing.” Paul Washer

I’m pretty sure I’ve been slightly addicted to television. Or maybe not television, but the comfort of having my attention satisfied.

I could hardly be in silence.

Whether I was exercising, cleaning, creating, I almost needed a movie or show going. Or thought I needed. I had to be entertained.

It was almost like I couldn’t survive in the quiet, or the seemingly boring.

This, in turn, if I’m honest, made me mentally weak. In exercise, when I was tired, in making disciplined choices. It caused me to be distracted more easily when I was cleaning, to stop and watch for a few minutes at a time.

The worst part was that my mind became consumed with images of tv shows or movies, and I didn’t have much clarity of thought. Then, Holy Spirit started working something beautiful in me: a real treasuring of God, a real admiration for humanity.

Slowly, worldly entertainment began to lose its luster. I would turn on tv shows, get 15 minutes in, and be bored with the show! I’d even grumble about it.

Before, I thought the tv was a solution to my boredom. Now, I’m almost bored watching the tv!

There is a longing growing within me for deeper things. For sweeter things. I yearn for that which fills me up and refreshes me. Books, prayer, music, time outside, conversations with friends.

Isn’t it amazing? God has changed me.

I still have shows I enjoy watching. And movies are a way J and I unwind. But the unnecessary tv noise? It numbs me. I don’t like how I feel afterwards.

There is a quote by Paul Washer that I found relevant…

Avoid trivial pursuits. You are a child of God, destined for glory, and called to do great things in His Name…. Do not throw away the precious moments of your life on entertainment, movies, and video games. Though some of these things can properly have a ‘small place’ in the Christian’s life, we must be careful not to give undue attention to temporal and fruitless activities. Do not waste your life. Employ the time of your youth in developing the character and skills necessary to be a useful servant of God.

These are strong words. I definitely don’t think entertainment is bad in and of itself, but I had made it an ultimate thing.. an activity I turned to first for satisfaction and inspiration.

The more I sought His face, the more I asked for Him to change the desires of my heart, He did. Conviction set in, why are you looking for a seemingly constant but actually very flat joy in this television entertainment? When you know exactly Who the source of all true and never-ending joy and happiness? 

It’s just me though. If you love watching Netflix for hours, and you and Jesus are rocking and rolling, I’m happy with and for you!

But I needed a change. A change that greatly affected my soul, and my intimacy with my Father.

Praise Him. 

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