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faith

resurrection vision: letting every sense of your humanity send you deeper into Jesus

Posted in faith

I was teaching a group of 7th-8th graders, reflecting on Easter’s truth, and it came out of my mouth before I even really knew what it meant: “in my time as a Christian, I have had a difficult time reconciling my continual sin and my identity as righteous in Christ because of his death and resurrection.”

The Bible speaks plainly and beautifully:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. (Ephesians 1:3-10)

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11)

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-31)

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:4-10)

 

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Confession: I apologize to God most often for my forgetfulness.

I am blown away by the goodness of God, then I idolize entertainment and miss out spending time with Him. I am overrun by His Fatherly tenderness and love for me, then I make a mistake, am consumed with anxiety, and try to earn His favor. I forget the magnitude of His Son’s death on the cross in my place, and I give affection to lesser things.

Is it crazy to confess on the internet that I dislike this about myself? I don’t like that I still struggle with sin as badly as I do. I don’t like the constant battle with idolatry, pride, and selfishness. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s right to hate sin. But I don’t believe feeling weary in guilt-driven effort to avoid, stuff, and conquer it is what God planned. I don’t think this is the reality Jesus died for me to walk in.

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longer, slower, simpler in 2018

Posted in faith

These are disciplines I feel God directing me.

I have spent the past few years devouring many books, articles, podcasts and sermons. While stimulating and inspiring, I found myself mentally and emotionally bloated by all the information.

I wasn’t experiencing a great deal of intimacy with my Heavenly Father, and came to a place of real homesickness.

When I had a question or felt a weakness or struggle within, I would pull up desiringGod.org and type it in the search bar.

While I was active in ongoing conversation with God, there wasn’t a lot of “God, I’m sensing this thing, what do you think? where should I go in your Word to learn about it?”

And there definitely wasn’t any sitting in silence for more than 2 minutes.

I was getting flustered too easily. I was feeling overwhelmed almost 24/7. My mind felt cloudy. I felt I had to climb over a bunch of unnecessary stuff (think junkyard piles) to be inspired by God or feel at peace.

Mental and soul rest were not even on my radar.

But eventually, I became desperate.

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Thoughts After El Salvador

Posted in travel

A few days back in the USA and my mind often drifts to last week in El Salvador.

It was a rich week — rich in laughter, diligent work, challenges, and leaning into God minute by minute.

It was truly a joy to work alongside my husband serving the El Salvadorian people. He was familiar comfort when I dealt with some difficult things, an energizing spirit when we were tired, and a voice of love and encouragement every single day. I still thank God we were able to travel, serve, worship, and experience together. I also enjoyed, with God, listening to J preach in our partnering church the first Sunday we were there.

The church we connected and served with radiated faith and joy in God.

Our translators were high school students from a local Christian school, and getting to know them was a highlight of my week. I hope to stay connected with some of my closest El Salvadorian friends for a long time. They were passionate about God and helping us communicate. They were so diligent in their help, and a joy to be around. We laughed and joked and sweated and were stretched in new ways. I pray they were as blessed by us as we were by them.

We prayed and spent time with the men and women of our partner church, and I was reminded we are all the same. We are all followers of Jesus, loved and known by Him, walking through uncertainties and challenges of life, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. How sweet it was to put Gospel-sharing, and God worshipping, in El Salvador on particular faces and names. Our God is good.  Continue reading