Is there a relationship in your life that you idolize, adore, or glorify? Often, the important relationships in our lives can slip into a place of worship without us even realizing it. The problem is that our identities are shaped by who we worship. So, when we worship another person, we actually become that person’s image of us.
“I’m just not sure if I see God as good. I see Him as holy but not necessarily kind.”
Someone said this to me a few days ago, and it immediately brought me back to my teenage years when I had the exact same thought. I was trying to read through the Old Testament, and I remember being so confused by God’s responses to His people. In Exodus, He responded to the Israelites’ grumblings in the wilderness with grace time after time. Then suddenly in Numbers, He responded to the exact same grumblings with curses and serpents.
I found myself wondering: Did He just run out of patience? Does that mean His grace for me also has limits? Why did He keep blessing Abraham and Moses, even though they made so many terrible choices, but then didn’t show that same continued grace to His people when they were wandering in the desert? Does He have favorites?
I have been so encouraged by my time in 1 John. I love all of the books written by John—he has a beautiful, poetic way of describing the love of God—and a key emphasis of this particular book is how to turn “loving one another” into a way of life. I have had a lot of people ask me what my time studying/reading His Word looks like. So, let me start by saying I am not an expert nor do I have a degree in anything pertaining to Biblical Studies. I’m just a girl who loves Jesus and loves spending time in God’s Word.
I’m not unaware of the spiritual war I’m in.I have strapped on my belt of truth, my breastplate of righteousness, my boots of peace, my shield of faith, and the helmet of my salvation…I’m not about to leave my sword behind.
When a landlord leases out the building he owns to someone else, he gives the new tenant all of the authority and rights to do what they want with the house. But, if that tenant subleases the house, they have to hand over their keys as well as their permission and authority. So, imagine that God is the perfect landlord of the perfect earth. He leased it to Adam, therefore giving him the eternal keys to His house and dominion over all of the things in it forever. His desire was for mankind, as His image bearers, to reflect His character to the world as they walked in friendship and fellowship with Him. But when Adam sinned, he lost the keys.
I was recently reading in Proverbs 31, which praises the virtuous woman—both a picture of the perfect wife and a symbol of the bride of Jesus—and the Lord revealed to me that I am called to be more than just a virtuous bride: I am also meant to be a warring one.
The Hebrew word used to describe the bride in these verses (chayil) is most often used in connection with military prowess and depicts a wife who is a force of might, power, ability, efficiency, and righteousness; full of substance and integrity—with the strength of an army. The same word is used over 200 times throughout the Old Testament and depicts valor, or great courage in battle. It is frequently used to describe men and soldiers; however, in Proverbs, it is used to describe the bride. The church.
I pray that every single person reading this has an encounter with the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. I pray that it manifests as the miracles, signs, and wonders they have been praying for so that there is an opportunity to believe in a new and deeper way. Because that kind of encounter is what gives us access to the faith and courage it takes to forsake everything else as we surrender to Jesus. That kind of encounter is what gives a hurting and broken world a taste of kindness from a faithful God. So Lord, may we taste and see that You are good! May we bear witness to the resurrected Christ. May we shout to those around us that Jesus is alive and so, so worthy of our surrendered life.
I was recently challenged in a Bible study to share my version of my salvation story with God and then invite Him to share His version with me. I put it off for a while, but I finally sat down to share it with Him one night last week, and joked, “How long do You have, God?”
I then proceeded to tell Him exactly how I remembered my story:
Our words have power. Proverbs 18:21 confirms this: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” And before we dive into taking thoughts captive and destroying strongholds, it’s important to acknowledge that Satan does not have the same power we do. His words don’t hold the same weight as ours, so he only gets power when we speak his words for him. He wants us to do his dirty work. So, he frequently attacks us through thoughts and thought patterns because it is human nature to believe and say whatever we think or feel, and we give power to whatever we speak.
First and foremost: I do not want to share this. But I am going to, because when I started this blog and this ministry, I promised to always yield to what I felt like the Holy Spirit wanted me to say. Please know that while anyone and everyone is welcome here, this post is specifically addressing Christians. And, unfortunately, I’m going to address the elephant/donkey in the room. Politics.
Endurance – ability to resist, withstand, recover from, and have immunity to trauma, wounds, or fatigue.
In Hebrews 12, we are called to run with endurance the race that is set before us. So right now—in the middle of a worldwide crisis—what does it look like to endure? How do we become immune to trauma, or wounds, or fatigue?
If there was one truth I could pass along to everyone that I come into contact with, it would be this:
For God SO LOVED the world.
I wish I could tell my children that they live in a world where open wounds are always met with open hearts and cries for help never fall on deaf ears. But that’s not a promise I can make. Too many people are hurting right now because they are living in a world that won’t fight for them.
You say that all I have to do is call to You, and You will tell me things I do not know.
So, tell me: Where are You?
I can’t read the news anymore. There’s so much pain in the world right now, and I can’t help but wonder—where is Your light? You say You have overcome the world, but we still have to live in it, and it is so very broken. I tell my children that You are a good and loving God who will protect them. But then, in the same breath, I have to explain why they aren’t allowed to see their friends or be near their grandparents.
I found myself in Mark 5 this morning, reading about Jesus raising the young girl from the dead. All He had to do was take her by the hand and say, “Little girl—get up!” and immediately, she stood up and began to walk around.
Maybe you know that Jesus wants to resurrect you from something—He’s telling you to get up—but you don’t see the fruit.
If you back up a few verses, notice what Jesus did right before He healed the girl: He pruned. When He told the crowd that she was not dead but asleep, they laughed at Him. So He told them to get out. Scripture says He put them all outside before going upstairs with the child’s mother, father, and the disciples who were with Him. Then He revived the girl.
Not from God, and not from each other. That wasn’t the plan God had for His creation.
We weren’t supposed to lose our mothers, fathers, children, spouses, siblings, or friends. God never wanted us to carry that kind of grief. Our hearts know it—that’s why there is something in us that cries out, “This isn’t right,” when our loved ones are stolen from us. And as we struggle with our sorrow, sometimes we can’t help but wonder how a good God could let us suffer.
In Luke 17:1, Jesus says it is impossible that no offenses will come. In Greek, the word for offenses can mean hindrances, obstacles, or stumbling blocks. And that’s what the spirit of offense does—it hinders our walk with Christ.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I am offended, I lose my religion. I can be having a full-on spiritual revival in my car, listening to my worship music, and feeling the very presence of God. But when someone cuts me off without using a blinker, suddenly my heart loses focus, and I’m yelling out, “Jesus, you better take the wheel because I’m about to rear-end a Pharisee!”