This day one year ago signifies a day in which I started a one year bible reading plan that would begin the hardest, most beneficial, challenging year of my life. It also signifies a beginning. A beginning of a year worth of life changing work that Christ would do through me. A year in which he would teach me more of his character and in turn reveal more about mine. During the reading of this plan I wondered what god was going to do and how he was going to work on me and through me. What’s been such a blessing and encouragement is the fact that he has let me see how he has been working in me even in the very process, which sometimes is not as evident. Because of the revelation of his work during this season of life that has been a hard one; it has given me strength to carry on. The life I lived before is no more thanks to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Prior to this year of dramatic change, I had always so intently looked forward to the future and wondered what it held for me. So much so that it made it hard for me to live in the present and be content with where I was and what I had. And it provoked anger and a privation of thankfulness. Hours upon hours I would spend thinking about and planning out, my future. And when it didn’t end up going as planned there was nothing but sorrow. For many years it was like that and it resulted in probably the least productive years of my life. Seeing as how I had no real control of the future it just made the depression cling closer. And thank the lord I didn’t have any real control of the future! All along he was using this painful season of my life to help teach me to trust in and acknowledge him and his plan alone instead of relying on my own plan and understanding(Proverbs 3:5-6). My pain and grief truly had a divine purpose. It’s astounding to step back and look at how god uses every single season of life for it’s own significant purpose. How much higher his glorious ways are than mine(Isaiah 55:8-9)! Trials are without a doubt, blessings in disguise. In that season of life I did not portray a vessel for Christs sake, very well at all(Jeremiah 18:5). But now I have learned to let tomorrow worry about itself (Matthew 6:34) and live in light of eternity in the here and now where I’m most useful to Christ. As far a seeking to know Christ more and more, there was a desire but it was not being cultivated. It was one of those items on the to-do list that never really got checked off the list. Even though it didn’t really make sense to me and I used that as my justification, I knew it was an essential need for the Christian especially in the day to day. Through the conviction of the holy spirit and the urging of a true friend, it became all to evident that I desperately needed gods word in my life. And since then no more did I see reading scripture as a chore or a old book that I did not comprehend. I chose to devote time to reading the gods word daily, and that’s when the greatest example of Matthew 7:7 became evident to me. When you seek the Lord he is faithful to reveal himself. You just have to ask sometimes. Gods word is unfortunately, an undiscovered treasure to so many. He was gracious enough to bless us with the greatest book on earth teaching of the greatest person who ever walked the earth. For years I had a serious idol in my heart that was holding most if not all my attention, thoughts and love. I was conscious this was a serious problem and I prayed for it to be removed. It was an idol whose love I had for, exceeded that of the love I had for Christ. Even though I did want it removed it was still very much a big part of me and was extremely hard to let go of. God did end up eventually removing that idol which was entirely answered prayer. But was none the less very painful for me in the passing months afterward. I was a bittersweet moment when Christ pulled apart my clenched hands and removed the very idol I had been clinging to for years. I know now that his purpose in that was for me to realize that anything apart from Christ will never truly satisfy or bring true joy to my heart. My purpose is to love him, and him alone, with all my heart has to offer(Luke 10:27). And what I’ve realized is if an idol is taking real estate in my heart and I want it removed, how much more do you think Christ wants it removed? Thankfully god is a jealous god and he will fight for your love. Those YEARS of holding onto an idol above Christ were essential for me to grasp a new understanding of how he works everything for good to those who love him(Romans 8:28). Despite years of having no close friends at church god has blessed me abundantly with friends who have been a great encouragement, example, and true friend to me. Even though it was a great struggle for years, it just makes me treasure them more. God knows what you need and precisely when you need it. “If this has been a test I cannot see the reason but maybe knowin’, I don’t know is part of getting through I try to do what’s best and faith has made it easy to see the best thing I can do is put my faith in You”. No matter what the circumstance, god is in control, and the outcome no matter how painful, is for your good. I will leave you with this verse “Trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths” - Proverbs 3:5-6
In order to follow Christ, we are told to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily(Luke 9:23). To leave EVERYTHING which is essentially denying the very essence of yourself. The reason I believe for this radical action, is because god wants whole-hearted dedication not partial devotion due to our love for other things besides god. We can so easily cling to things because of the sense security that it gives us. And money is definitely ones of those hindrances. And obviously what you treasure is where your heart is. Until you view everything you have as a gift, and god ultimately the giver of every gift, you will not have a thankful outlook. Oh what wretched creatures we are to treasure the gifts over the giver! And if you aren’t thankful why should you even consider being generous? Because you won’t ever have enough(Ecclesiastes 5:10). Many a time I would think how generous I would be if I had millions of dollars. And that thinking was absolutely wrong! If I’m not generous now, if I don’t have enough money now, I would never have enough money and as a result I would not be generous in the least. I do see my money and possessions as a gift now. So now when I give them away or have them taken I don’t feel the loss. That’s why I think tithing is very essential to aid in denying yourself. Because honestly no part of me wants to give away anything that I feel I’ve worked so hardly to earn. And when you treasure your time, money, earthly relationships more than you treasure your relathionshop with christ you compromise. If you give god any time it’s usually your least importance time. That 2 minutes you have before you go to sleep at 12:30. You have to be intentional about prayer and devotions or else it won’t happen. Prioritize! Make time! Honestly how healthy do you think your relationships with family and friends would be if you only gave them the least important time in your day? Lord forgive me for offering you the leftovers of my time, life, money and love. “So I will pray to you right now to take away my sin heal away my brokenness and change this heart again”*
* Song lyrics from “Change this heart” by Sidewalk prophets
Im caught in the rhythms of grace, they overcome all of my ways. Realigning each step every day to live for your glory.– Hillsong (via anonymouslyshelby) Via shelby
Yesterday, Today, Forever, all may change but you will never. - Ryan Stevenson (Hebrews 13:8)
Christ is risen-Matt Maher
Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
We fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to Him who showed great love
And bled for us Freely you bled for us. Thank you lord
Via Sinners come inside, with no money come and buy.
Game. Set. Match
WHITE PEOPLE PROBLEMS
Hahaha so I suppose this never happens to black people…
One night a man had a dream. He dreamed
he was walking along the beach with the LORD.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene he noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand: one belonging
to him, and the other to the LORD.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of
his life there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he
questioned the LORD about it:
“LORD, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you’d walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me.”
The LORD replied:
“My son, my precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you.” (Taken with Instagram at Sunset Beach)