Purpose – Redemption

I’m not Catholic or Orthodox, and typically not a part of a church body that participates in Lent. However, as a personal practice, more years than not in the last 10 years, I have participated in Lent (in a personal manner).

Recent life events have left me with some questions and some heartbreaking thoughts that I know God will use this Lent season to teach and grow me.

Tonight, in that vein, I am participating in the 5 minute friday tradition (last week, I actually did my 5 minute Friday post on my Tiny house blog)…I know it’s Sunday, but unfortunately, I find myself late many weeks.

This week’s theme:

PURPOSE…

“You didn’t want heaven without us, so Jesus you brought heaven down”
-Hillsong ‘What a Beautiful Name’

This song has me wrecked recently, especially this line… He didn’t want heaven without us…

This goes with my reading tonight.
Tonight, I spent time in 2nd Peter.

He has a lot to say in the 2&3 chapters about evil days: false prophets & teachers, evil doers, fleshly desires, condemnation, and more… I won’t take the time to break it all down – honestly, it’s a lot.

But, I want to focus on one specific section:

“But, do not forget this one thing dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief…”

  • 2 Peter 3:8-10

So, what’s this all about?

It’s about purpose.
And, that purpose? Redemption.

Recently, I’ve had to come face to face with my belief: sin, death, mortality.
Do I really believe some perish?

Unfortunately, I do. And, honestly, the question of someone’s eternity is HEARTBREAKING.
But, Jesus has been working in my heart – if it’s that heartbreaking for me, how much more heartbreaking is it for Him to have Creation reject Him?

So, what’s it all about?
Purpose – redemption. Human souls. Love.

He created a way – desiring that no one would perish, knowing some would anyway. Giving His people the knowledge, tools, and compassion to reach as many as possible, and then commissioning us to do so.

This is a tough, heartbreaking topic to write about. I hate the thought of spending eternity without some of the people I care about – even spending eternity without my “enemies”. But, the reality is, it’s likely to happen.

And, if it hurts so much for me – how much more for Him, after creating and offering restoration?

So, that leaves me – in the gap. Attempting to live out the great commission in my life. In the tension between here & now and eternity.
A part of the Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven, trying to be a light of love to as many people as I can.

So, what’s this all about?
Purpose – human souls. Love.
Redemption.

Ah, Back to Ireland.

2013 was the last time I got the opportunity to visit Ireland. I have been twice for ministry opportunities.

Now, I have the opportunity to return this July.
I.Am.So.Excited.

Each time I go there, I fall more & more in love: with the place, the people, and spreading the Love of God across the ocean.

It’s another great opportunity to spread God’s love across the globe. My biggest passions meet in this: ministry, people, travel, and Ireland. 

So, as you found your way to this blog, please pray with me about ways to support: prayer is greatly appreciated. Of course.

But, if God moves your heart to donate (any help at all is so much appreciated), here are some ways you can do that, too:

  • A “gofundme” option is available.
  • I started an Etsy shop: TinyNepheshArts.  If you are looking to purchase some art, including custom orders, I have some pieces available for sale.

Prayer is always appreciated for sure.
Prayer that God would bring in the finances for the entire team.
That we would make connections, make an impact, and become more globally minded in our living.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me: scentfilledsoul@gmail.com.

Thanks in advance for support and blessing.


I also enjoy the opportunity to pray for those who read my blog. So, as you are praying for my next adventure, let me know below what I can be in prayer for for you. Blessings!

 

Tonight’s Prayer

Abba:

I’m getting restless.

I’m tired of being in Oklahoma.
I’m ready to be somewhere else.
Pack up my new tiny home & hit the road.

Realistically, I’m not in a place to leave yet.

And, lately, that truth has been wearing on my heart.

I know that for my own well-being & health, I can’t make this place my forever home.

But, it’s not time for me to move yet. So, I’m almost regretting the choice to come here in the first place, though there has been so much good being here.

There is a spirit of oppression on this place that feels like it weakens my spirit.

There is so much pressure from inside & out to be what everyone wants me to be. I almost feel stuck in my situation. Like there’s no way out, no opportunity for change. Making me ready to cut ties & run.

This is a good chance for me to learn – that’s not the way the world works.

Please, show me the good that has been done. Reveal the next step in Your plan for me here in this place. Open the right doors & close the rest of them.

Lift the spirit of oppression over my life, destroy any anxiety or depression that would threaten what You have called me to do; destroy any apathy that has made it’s way into my heart.

Soften me, remove the callouses that are developing on my heart. 

Open up opportunity for me to use the gifts you’ve given me to bring Glory to You.

May I leave every situation with my integrity intact.image

Send me more relationships to sharpen my relationship with You, allowing me to see more hope in the world around me.

Lord, be with this city, this state, and this nation. May any confusion & disillusionment begin to melt away. Soften hearts and turn them towards you.

God, please remove anything that is hindering the purpose you have for me.

And, in this waiting time, may I remember to take care of my soul & refresh my spirit, trusting that what’s on the other side of this waiting is Your best for my life.

I am so thankful for the amazing life I live, a life of beauty even on the hardest days.

Amen

 

 

This. Is. The. Time.

In one of my favorite posts to date, Imagine That, I wrote about what the world would look like if we all began praying like we meant it.

Really, how different would it look?!

But, recently, about the last two months or so, I have been apathetic about, well, everything.
It isn’t until more recently that there has been a change: dreams awoken, faith renewed, heart rested.

And, with last week’s youth revival at our church (I’ll have to do a post about that in the near future), and the series our youth pastor is doing, I’ve been challenged again:
what could my life be if I really got settled into an active prayer life?

I feel as if there are some big things missing from my life (feel free to explore this blog to read about that…it’s all over the place here). And I have been doing so much to stay faithful, but I still find myself in trial & hard time after trial & hard time.

Then I ask God, Why? Haven’t I been faithful? then, I find myself slipping out of faithfulness…

But, the fact is, God never promised we would have hard times. Ever.

“I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But, take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

I have written before about the flip-side of faith; that if we take God at His word for our good times, we Have to respect His word that we will also face trials. If He is untrue in this, then He is not God.

So, as we were going through revival & our service last Wednesday night, I felt God’s pull on my heart to read through the book of Daniel again. And, let me tell you, Daniel was a faithful man who had trouble.

But, right there in chapter one, we see God’s favor with Daniel because of Daniel’s faithfulness to God’s law.

Then, the fact is that because of Daniel’s, Hananiah’s, Mishael’s and Azariah’s faithfulness, they found themselves in huge hard times – trial by fire & thrown in a lion’s den. But, God got them through this & then brought His name greater glory.

See, God does not spare us hard times because of faithfulness; but He gets us through the hard times because of faithfulness (ours and His), bringing Himself more glory.

In fact, it is more a reflection of God’s faithfulness than our own. As we see in Joel, when He restores a broken & unfaithful Israel. His love never left, and His promise to His people was great:

image

God promised to restore what had been lost, what had been broken.

So often, I feel lost, broken. As if I am not somewhere important I should have been. I get complacent and apathetic, fearing that God has all but forgotten me & my dreams.

He has yet to do that, though. Even in my times of unfaithfulness, God is always faithful.

And, I fully believe His word. He is restoring what has been lost. He has been doing so for a while now. Some days, I just miss it.
He is bringing restoration I never knew possible, and I trust Him to continue to do so. I believe that as I continue to return to Him in faithfulness, He will continue to make good on His word.

I believe I will see lives around me changed.
I believe I will see my own life changed.
I believe I will see beauty restored in this world & in my relationships.
I believe people around me will realize the power of His faithfulness, and all that I have been through will be for His glory.
I believe I will even see a change begin in my clients & at work.

This week has really reminded me that I can’t wait for others to pray where God is leading me to pray, and I can’t expect 5 minutes a day to be enough.

It’s time for a revival in this country, in this world; and I am on the frontline with many others.

This. Is. The. Time.


Is there something God has placed on your heart to pray for? A situation in your life, a person you know, a dream you have? I encourage you to begin really seeking God’s will in that area, following His prompting to spend time in prayer about that. If you want me to add it to my prayer list, feel free to share below or email me. I’m in prayer for everyone who reads this blog that God would begin a frontline revival in each of our hearts.

“I knew about you, but…”

My most traumatic life experience has nothing to do with the abuse I’ve lived through, the amount of death that I have been surrounded by, or near death experiences I’ve had.
My most traumatic experience came in the form of a church play…

When I was younger (like, little kid young), my church did a show a couple of times called “Heaven’s Gates, and Hell’s Flames”.

When I was about 7, we did the play and my mom played a young mom who dies with her baby & faces judgement after having lived a “good” life, but not really committed to the gospel. My little sister played the baby.
Let me set a scene for you that has haunted me to this day.
One of my biggest fears, and actually quite a bit more traumatic for me than I ever realized:

A young woman and her baby are killed. She stands before the judgement seat & begins to think over her life. She knows of God & His Son, she has been a good person, but she’s never really sold out to Christ. Never been dedicated to the relationship or expansion of the Kingdom. Her name is not in the book of life. But, her baby has yet to be marred by the world & unable to make any decisions for herself.

So, the woman’s baby is taken from her to heaven; Then she cries, as she realizes where she’s going, and as she is dragged off to eternal damnation, she screams “I knew about you, but I never really knew you!”

– Reality Outreach Ministries, Inc.

This was my mom, and to this day, there are certain times when I still picture my baby sister being removed from her hands, her being dragged away, & her blood curdling scream comes into my head: I knew about you, but I never really knew you.

Just like the Pastor in the Left Behind movie who screams at God, “I stood right there!” pointing at the pulpit. Lamenting on how he had spoken the word of God each week but it hadn’t penetrated his heart.

Since I was 7 years old (there is a reason they recommend offering a place for kids 9 and under during the performance) and watched my sister be taken from my mom’s arms & my mom dragged away to the pit of hell – this has been one of my biggest fears.
For myself, for my family.

That we would know about Him, but not really know Him.

We know all the lingo, the words to the songs, we raise our hands in Worship.
But, it’s not enough…

Our hearts have to be filled with faith & our lives filled with action (James 1:14-26).
Lip service, pious tweets, & pretty Instagram pictures aren’t enough.

And, just like the young mom in the play; just like the pastor in Left Behind; God’s word says some people will look like they have it all together, like they are on their way to Heaven, but they will be turned away:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons  and perform miracles?’  Then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers!'”

– Matthew 7:21-22

One of the biggest criticisms I’ve found online for this play (which still tours), is that it scares people into repentance; and it’s not true repentance. Along with this scare tactic people have complained about comes a lot of people who balk at a doctrine of hell, and eternal separation from God, calling it “unbiblical”
…Unfortunately they are wrong.

It’s clear from this passage, and others, that though God’s will is that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9; John 3:16-17; Ezekiel 33:11), some still will due to His loving design of free-will (Ezekiel 18:21-32; John 3:18; Romans 6:23; Revelation 20-21; 2 Thes 1:9).

So, I’ve been terrified at different points of my life…
how do I really know I’m saved…

Lucky for me, His word outlines that, as well:

  • I am saved if I: confess Jesus as Lord; believe in my heart that He has been raised up by God. Justified by belief in my heart & professed of faith with my mouth – Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9-10,13) (Acts 2:21; Joel 2:32)
  • If I am saved, my life will look different, and it will be evidenced by my love for others (1 John 4:7-21); it will be evidenced by the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-24)

It’s about the heart. The changes made, dying to myself each day & following him (Luke 9:23, Matt 16:24, Mark 8:34).

I know I can’t actually see into the hearts of those around me, but I can be sure of my own salvation. I can be pretty sure of the salvation of those in my life based on the above evidence.

And, I can recognize the tool of the devil to try to confuse & scare me, as he is prone to do (1 Peter 5:8).
When I hear that scream in my head & I get worried or confused, I can come back with the Word of God knowing that fear and confusion isn’t of Him (2 Tim 1:7).

I have faith on the other side of that fear that instead of me crying out “I knew of you, but never knew you”; Instead, my name will be in the book & I will hear “Well done, good and faithful one”.


Let me know what you think, below. Let me know how I can pray for you 🙂