But, we must stop underestimating our value; but, rather, we should regard ourselves as valued. Irreplaceable. Priceless. Continue reading
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:
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.
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 🙂
Always my first question when:
- A Christian friend says she met someone.
- Someone offers to set me up (which is basically never)
What surprises me is when even fellow Christians tell me that I place too much emphasis on this, or expect too much in this area.
2 Corinthians 6:14 tells me not to be yoked to an unbeliever. Actually, even someone not on the same level as me. What’s more? This passage is actually about avoiding idolatry. How quickly what we choose to link to can become idolatry – leading us away from God’s purpose.
I know based on human nature, I’m at risk for putting my “him” above God. So, I definitely need a “him” who is completely committed to the Kingdom of Heaven, who will steer me back in that direction.
I believe life is best lived for Christ. So, I can’t have someone who doesn’t understand that part of my life – the biggest part of my life.
To hear other believers tell me I’m expecting “too much” or have too much emphasis on this, it’s disheartening. It saddens me greatly to know that they feel that there are so few of us, and that it’s too great of an expectation in todays world.
Because, I really feel we can all expect it, and should celebrate it when we find it.
A partner who is passionate about the Will of God is a beautiful thing. And, being equally yoked is the only way to really make it work. Otherwise, it becomes a huge hurdle for everyone involved.
Do I have to have someone who likes country music, reading, and rainy weather? Probably not. These qualities would be a bonus, but not a necessity for a happy life.
Do I have to have a man dedicated to Christ? ABSOLUTELY. Because, it’s the biggest part of my life. Faith & ministry; I can’t not share those things.
You see, I’d rather serve God alone and single, than try to serve God alone in a relationship.
Do I want to be a wife and a mom? Yes. With the depths of my heart I do.
But, I trust that my Abba knows this. So, I trust He is helping me become the best wife & mom I can be one day –
To one of His sons, a like-minded man who is equally prepared & prayed up (maybe even more so).
The question: “does he/she love Jesus?” should never be an obsolete question when discussing relationships – it should be the most important.
So, does he love Jesus?
If the answer is no, or maybe, or I don’t know, then, move along. I’m not the one.
If the answer is yes; then, may God guide you rightly.
Do you think it is expecting too much to expect someone dedicated to Christ? Let me know your thoughts below.
If you, like me, are waiting for a God-loving man or woman, let me know below. I will add you to my prayer list & we can encourage one another. And, as we wait, enjoy this post just for my future “him” 🙂
Until you’re dead.
“Satan will do everything he can to create space between you and God.” – Ryan Summers; youth pastor
There is so much truth here. God’s word tells us there is a battle going on every day, not with flesh & blood, but with the unseen. An enemy prowls around looking for people he can devour.
But, his devouring is not what we often think of.
He seeks to kill, steal, destroy in the daily. He will find little things that begin to separate us, and before long we are standing before a chasm, thinking we can’t get back.
But, the truth is, we are never too far…until we’re dead.
The enemy has a way of convincing us, though, that we are too far.
I have seen it over & over, in my life and in the lives of those around me.
For me, I am in one of those times. Since Thanksgiving, it’s been the little things that have begun to add up:
- Being un-able to help all the time at church due to crises at work, due to sickness. A separation.
- Being sick – constantly. Just when I get past one, it’s another.
- Being exhausted from afore mentioned crises & sicknesses.
- I began to do less in regards to my bible reading/prayer time.
- Pulling back from the positive influences in my life.
All of these things have brought me to where I am tonight, even more exhausted. Missing that part of my life, which He didn’t give up on, I did. And, wondering, “can I even cross the chasm? It’s been so long, I don’t know where to start, what to read, what to pray…”
The truth, as I’ve said, is that I’m not too far…until I’m dead.
And, regardless of how low I feel today – whether I’m in the pit or the palace, on a mountain or in a valley – I am still alive, so I’m not too far.
The enemy would have us believe that not knowing where to start, or thinking we’re too far, is a good excuse to not do anything about it. He keeps us away from Christ by keeping us paralyzed by apathy. The truth is, not knowing where to start isn’t a good excuse.
There are bible reading plans all over the place. Most chapters in Psalms & Proverbs are short. There are devotional books designed for five quick minutes a day.
There are verses that are easily memorized and stored in your heart for deserts like this, that will open the way back.
Turn on some worship music that ushers in the presence of God. Or sit quietly in your special place. Opening your heart to the truth that you are still able to find redemption in Him.
As for prayer? One place to start is with your remorse, and desire to cross the chasm by way of the Cross. Start with your repentance & gratitude for His grace & mercy.
And, trust that you are never too far…and that your rest will come, even if you don’t feel it right away. Trust in your Abba’s mercy & love, wait on the Lord and find your rest.
“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31