Tag Archives: scripture

Christian=Spared From Troubles?

Did you ever think being a Christian would make your life…easier? I think a lot of Christians are in that boat. We think (even subconciously) that knowing Jesus and the truth about salvation will make this earthly life a breeze. It is true that knowing our Savior and the waves of grace makes life manageable, and even joyful. Yet an easy life is not a promise in the Bible…Far from it, in fact!

Recently I faced a situation that I never, ever anticipated would happen to me. I

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Photo by Kyle Broad on Unsplash

thought I was wiser. I thought that my knowledge and education would keep me from that situation. If I’m completely honest, there was even a part of me that thought Christ would spare me from that type of situation. Yet…Christ never promised our life on earth would be easy. Never. Recently, I discovered that Matthew 11:30 (“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”) is not translated well. Instead of “easy,” the word from Greek is better translated as “suitable,” “well fitting,” or “useful.” The crosses we have are well-fitted to us, and useful for the particular growth we need as individuals. As much as we protest our crosses, they are fitted to our shoulders, not someone else’s. Christ gives us many forms of grace to endure whatever it is we face. 

Being a Christian doesn’t make us immune from the troubles of this world. Countless Christians have done the “right things” and still faced martyrdom, spousal abuse, bankruptcy, natural disasters, chronic illness, and any other struggle you can name. We are in the world, though we are not of it. The advantage we have as Christians is knowing Who helps us carry our burdens. We are never left to our own devices, but in every moment we are completely loved and upheld. We know that the suffering here is not the end, but there is a life of eternal joy that awaits us one day. Our suffering is not without meaning. Remember what came after the crucifixion? We can look forward to the same, whether on the horizon of our earthly lives or in Heaven.

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” Hebrews 10:36

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

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Photo by Will van Wingerden on Unsplash

 

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The Word on Wednesday-Seasons.

“There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

     a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
     a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
     a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 

We grasp at the seasons we consider good. The being born seasons, the planting seasons where we joyfully await the fruit of our labor. The building and healing seasons, and the laughing and dancing seasons. Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything, a season for everything under the heavens. All of the seasons are necessary. Without the different seasons, we would not grow. We would not learn to rely on our Heavenly Father if the seasons were all easy.

I know that many believers, and the world in general, are enduring the difficult seasons: uprooting seasons, seasons where there is emptiness and mourning. There is even threat of killing and war. In these circumstances, we learn to lean on the Lord and His steady faithfulness. We learn to better love our neighbor. We learn to await His promises, and the joyous seasons. Embrace your season. This earthly life is temporary. Seasons don’t last forever, but the enduring love of our Father does. 

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Photo by Jordan McQueen on Unsplash

The Tools We Have.

Jesus was the Son of a carpenter. He would have, then, followed in the footsteps of His (earthly) father. The time between the beginning of His ministry and His death and Resurrection was 3 years. Jesus likely began carpentry at a young age and assisted Joseph

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for many years in this trade, until the time His ministry began. Thinking of our lives, He’s given us many tools to use. These tools may not be a saw or a hammer, but they are what He’s given us to use as we build our lives alongside Him. These tools help us in various ways as we work out our salvation with “fear and trembling.” These tools help us to navigate our lives. Because Jesus was a carpenter, it seems fitting that He works through so many circumstances in our lives by various tools.

This life is a difficult journey. There are seasons where we can feel the grace and sunshine on us moment by moment. Other seasons? Not so much. Other seasons are dark and we struggle constantly. We may feel helpless sometimes. Thankfully, our Father hasn’t left us alone.

What tools has He given us to navigate and build our lives?

  • His Word-His word provides consolation, comfort, conviction, guidance, and anything else we could ever need.
  • His Holy Spirit-After Jesus ascended to the Father, He sent the Holy Spirit to be with us forever, to lead, guide, and console us!
  • Prayer-We can connect with the GOD of the universe wherever we are! How amazing is that? Even better, there are styles of prayer to suit every personality, from silent and meditative prayer to belting out in praise!
  • Other people-We can receive encouragement and confirmation from others. Others can provide wisdom and strength that we need. The Lord did not create us to be alone–in fact, we can’t make it alone through life. Human love can teach us in a small way about the love our Creator has for us.
  • Counselors-These trusted people help us walk through the broken pieces of our life and into more whole versions of ourselves.
  • Books-Good books teach, heal, guide, and inspire.
  • Nature-Nature is a great way to connect with our Creator and de-stress. Nature teaches us so much about our Creator and His ways.
  • Art and music-Like nature, these gifts of beauty show us Who our Creator is. They can be very healing for many people.
  • Writing-Pouring one’s heart onto paper is very helpful for many people.
  • Prophets and the prophetic-These experiences can confirm what the Lord is speaking over our lives.
  • Laughter-This gift helps us to relax. It helps us to connect with others and is positive physically and emotionally.
  • Tears-Tears are the words our hearts speak when life seems too much for us to carry. Tears are a release for our body and our emotions. Sometimes they are also a supernatural gift from the Holy Spirit.
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What other tools has the Lord given you as you work through life?

The Word on Wednesday-Isaiah 55:8-9

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.'”~Isaiah 55:8-9

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Do you ever just not understand the circumstances in your life? As humans, we need to admit that we don’t know much. Though humans have made progress and come up with advancements in many areas, there is still much unknown to the human mind.

It is difficult when we don’t understand the circumstances in our lives: when timing seems off, struggles, being faced with injustice, and more. There is peace when we realize that we don’t need to understand. We only need to trust.  The passage above reminds us that the ways of the Lord are way above anything we can imagine. His thoughts are unfathomable to us. Someday we will better understand our lives, whether it be later in earthly life or during our eternal life. But for now, we need to seek and keep in mind our Creator.

The One Who created the heavens and the earth, and who knows every hair on our head, and every single moment of history? His ways are above our ways, and His thoughts at a much higher level than we could ever comprehend. I’m ready to trust Him and to not lean on my own understanding. How about you?

 

Choosing the Better Part.

Lately I’ve been learning the lesson that Jesus taught Martha about choosing the better part. And it’s a lesson that I will need to continually learn as my life evolves.

As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman

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named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”~Luke 10:38-42

Before I’ve written about how difficult it is to balance my job, school, and all the other aspects of my life at this point. I’ve learned without prayer, it all falls apart. Without Jesus as my Pilot, I crash. Sitting at the feet of Jesus fills me up. The Living Water fills me up to pour out to others and into my callings in life at this time.  It is all about relationship. When I neglect my other relationships, too, things do not go well. Community brings a sense of peace and focus to me that I lack on my own. I need time with Jesus, and I need time with others who love me and encourage me (while I do the same for them). 

Choosing the better part means choosing relationship over the tasks that “need” to be done.

I’m learning what it means to choose the better part. I want to set aside my “important” tasks and sit at the feet of Jesus. It is there where I gain all I need. It is the better part, and it cannot be taken from us, as Jesus Himself tells us.

The Word on Wednesday-Ephesians 1:3-5

 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him in love. He destined us for adoption as His children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will.”~Ephesians 1:3-5

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courtesy of unsplash.com

We are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing. Can you imagine that? Every spiritual blessing. Our God has withheld nothing from us! I think it is we who don’t grasp the blessings, but choose to dwell in darkness and sin instead of reaching for the light.

Isn’t it also amazing that God has adopted us? And that He chose us before the foundation of the world? We have always been a part of His vision for the world! Our God is not far off, but we can have a personal relationship with Him! We can call our God, “Abba,” Daddy! And He even sent Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, to live among us as one of us. It was the good pleasure of His will that we would be adopted through Jesus Christ. He takes delight in us. 

(These 3 verses pack a lot in and whole books could probably be written on they alone! Any other thoughts?)

Live Courageously.

The United States of America is entering a new chapter. For actually a few years, I have had the sense that the United States was going to enter a time of difficulty. I believe that the time of difficulty has now begun. Recent events have thrown my workplace into upheaval. Really, the entire country and, to some extent, the world, are in a place of uncertainty. There is a culture of animosity right now in the United States. At certain points, all of these events have been a lot to take in emotionally. I’ve been surrounded by them from morning to evening. I felt so weak and drained. Then, I felt the Lord telling me to live courageously. He confirmed this as every song that came on the radio seemed to echo the theme of courage and bravery! No matter where you are, YOU are being called to live courageously.

What does it mean to live courageously?

Living courageously means keeping your center on JESUS even when the world has gone crazy.

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(photo courtesy of unsplash.com)

 

Living courageously means being PEACE in a world where anger and negativity is rampant.

Living courageously means walking HUMBLY with God even when you are surrounded by darkness and ego on every side.

Living courageously means casting out fear and replacing it with LOVE.

Living courageously means speaking up for JUSTICE for those who are voiceless.

Living courageously means RELIANCE on Jehovah-Jireh (God the Provider) when you don’t have a paycheck and wonder how you will pay the bills, or when you don’t know if you will soon have a paycheck.

Living courageously means being a sign of HOPE to others even when you feel weighed down by the burdens of your life and the world.

Living courageously means being a person of PRAISE as the storm rages all around you.

Living courageously means TRUSTING in God when all stability is pulled out from under you.

Living courageously means picking up your shield of FAITH and the sword of the Spirit, the WORD OF GOD and knowing they are your weapons.

Living courageously means staying in a place of PRAYER in a world that distracts and fills us with noise.

Living courageously means knowing that God’s POWER is made perfect in your WEAKNESS. (2 Cor. 12:9)

Are you ready to live courageously? It will not be easy, friends. Thankfully we have our perfect Heavenly Father to fight for us, His Son who endured every temptation that we do (without giving in), and the Holy Spirit who permeates every darkness and every fiber of our being. Let’s go!

It’s time to live courageously.

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