Seeking God: True bravery

Seeking God: True bravery

Reading: Psalm 27:1-14, Psalm 109:5-6

Christ: Sometimes true bravery means waiting for God to act on your behalf. Be confident in my consuming love for you and have fearless trust in Me. I will not fail you, though My timing may not agree with yours. But “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord” (Psalm 28:14).

My heart has heard you say, -Come and talk with me.-.jpg

Think: Consider David, who being pursued by his enemies, prayed and consulted God first. When he had the chance to ensure his own safety and easily kill King Saul (see 1 Samuel 24) he did not take it because he feared the Lord and knew that it was not His will. David chose to let God take care of it, even though it meant allowing Saul to possibly survive and prosper longer. Do I ever take decisions into my own hands out of fear? What would it look like to trust in a stressful time?

Pray: Dear Lord, I am deeply sorry for the times when my actions betrayed my trust in you. Help us to bravely have patience and confidence in your good will for our lives. Amen.

Just hit send

Just hit send

Does anyone else do this?
You take forever writing an email because you keep doing more editing than actual writing, and then once hitting send, you immediately open up your sent mail and read and reread the same email you just spent 3 hours on, poring over it, rereading it aloud to yourself, and continuing to pick it to death and kicking yourself for errors found only after the fact. Something has to hit you over the head with a proverbial brick to snap you out of your reverie and continue on with the next task. (What was the next task again?)

This is typically how I compose and send emails at work, which admittedly is a huge time waster and not company-friendly. But it’s not just at work, I’ve always done this all my life. (If my manager is reading this, don’t worry, I’m truly trying to break the habit.) Outside of work and other administrative-type emails, I mostly write random encouraging emails to all kinds of people. bloggers i’m inspired by, family members, and friends I don’t keep in touch with often. I don’t keep a schedule of correspondence, I just do it when it occurs to me. It’s a bit of a fun hobby: I go through my list of contacts in my phone, and keep scrolling until a name screams out to me in my heart. Then I try to think of something that might make their day.

However, it’s that maddening email-editing craze that often slows or completely stops this spirit-guided process to encourage someone else. It’s a kind of fear I’ve only recently thought to take notice of. Throughout my intense editing session, I’m half listening to these foreign whispers. What will they think of me? Is this weird? Yeah, this is weird. No one ever emails me like this. They probably won’t even respond.

Sometimes I end up scrapping the entire email and not sending anything. That person continues on in their day, with no idea I’ve spent so much time trying to reach out to him or her. Like a light under a basket, no one ever benefits. And it’s obvious what is behind it all — Fear.

Fear of embarrassing mistakes, either in content or grammar.
Fear of being embarrassed
Fear I wont be taken seriously
Fear that I’ll be taken too serious (This happens quite a bit, thanks to my annoying habit of quoting obscure lines from my favorite TV shows that no one gets)
Fear I’ll be ignored
Fear of being annoying

Because communication through the written word is hard. It’s a difficult art to master, at least for me. When you have to convey anything that will have an effect on the recipient, it’s a big responsibility. Like when I’m trying to tell someone to do something without telling them to do it. It takes nuance, carefully worded sentences, and sensitivity to the reader and their particular environment. Our words have so much power. That’s why the Bible is chock-full of wisdom concerning the careful use of our tongues. They truly have the power of life and death.

That being said, there’s a point at which you just have to let go and hit send. Wanted or not, there it goes. It can be scary, depending on the message. Be it a resume, break in a long silence between friends, or a hard word of truth that must be spoken. Sending an email out there is like sending a vulnerable extension of yourself into the unknown. But unlike the lamp which sits indefinitely under the basket, we must get these messages out before the opportunity is gone. Funny how in order to encourage someone, we often must take the first step of courage.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7

Is there someone on your heart today? Maybe reach out and send that email or text of encouragement, whatever it might be. We have no idea the journey our words will take, but if God’s spirit is behind it, there’s no doubt that they will soar on, accomplishing His will.

Not an email person? Here are some other ideas for brightening up someone’s day:

  • Send an E-card (sort of dorky but sweet) Dayspring has a great ecard selection
  • Leave a message on social media site of choice
  • Can’t go wrong with a quick text
  • Post an old picture and tag your friend with a couple of nice words
  • Go way old school and pick up the phone
  • Go even older-school and (if you can) arrange a hang out session in person

Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments below how you like to let someone know you’re thinking of them.

xo, Molly

 

Perfect conditions to trust

Perfect conditions to trust

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). NaNoWriMo is an annual challenge for people all over the world to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. We push ourselves to produce quantity over quality (for now) just to reach this arbitrary word goal and “win” Nanowrimo for the year. I am one such crazy person!

I love NaNoWriMo because it challenges me to make time for my writing even when I don’t want to. I always have an excuse for why I’m not meeting my daily goals. Too busy, too tired, too uninspired to write. This morning I was feeling particularly low about how far behind I am, when I realized something: The conditions will never be perfect. Sometimes you just have to jump in and do it even though it seems useless. Ironically, this thought hit me at the exact perfect time in my spiritual life.

Recently I had a very heavy weight on my heart. Instead of laying it at the foot of the cross, I dragged it behind me like a dead weight and suffered myself in circles. But In Isaiah, God says he LONGS for us to turn to him. He anxiously awaits for each child to approach him so that he can take over our heavy loads and lavish even more love on us. Letting down my own load and picking up His, I can go further, faster, and free of anxiety.

The conditions of our spiritual lives will never be perfect and easy. Things happen and emotions go up and down, but God’s love is unchanging. A contrite heart he will not despise, so don’t hesitate to turn to Him in your time of need.

A Spacious Place

renewing-lifeI recently learned that the Greek word for “Trial” (as in, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds”) means “restricted and bound”.
Many people consider “religion” to be just another set of restrictions, a big list of DON’Ts. But actually, God wants us unrestricted, set free. He understands that we are restricted and bound by the general presence of sin in the world. and our penchant to turn away from his ways which are better and higher than ours.
Listen to what he promises:
He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

“He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place.
Nowhere here does it say, “I was a perfect believer and followed all the rules, therefore God saved me.” But, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.
He delighted in us first and set us into the spacious place where we could be given another chance to know the truth.

Confidence before atheism

Atheism is the denial of the existence of God. I have many friends and family who identify themselves as atheist, and I myself used to live as though it was true.

This is the subject on my mind today, and being on vacation, I have let myself slip with my daily readings. Suddenly when a situation arose, I felt naked and unprotected. I had to get to a private place and build up my confidence in Jesus, my salvation, and the Word.

What I found was Isaiah 32-33.  It’s kind of long, but I want to encourage anyone who is up to it, to take a moment to slow down, clear your mind, and read these 2 chapters in their entirety. Isaiah is speaking to about Jerusalem and Babylon, but reading this today, all I could think of was the end times; of people who turn to God for protection and forgiveness, and those who vehemently deny the existence of God.

33:13 Hear, you who are far off, what I have done;
and you who are near, acknowledge my might.
14 The sinners in Zion are afraid;
trembling has seized the godless:
“Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire?
Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?”
15 He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
who despises the gain of oppressions,
who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe,
who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed
and shuts his eyes from looking on evil,
16 he will dwell on the heights;
his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks;
his bread will be given him; his water will be sure

18 Your heart will muse on the terror:
“Where is he who counted, where is he who weighed the tribute?
Where is he who counted the towers?”
19 You will see no more the insolent people,
the people of an obscure speech that you cannot comprehend,
stammering in a tongue that you cannot understand.

It is easy to get carried away with our feelings and judgements on both ends of the spectrum. Remember –God alone is the judge of those who are not believers. Our job is not to attack, nor hide our light under a basket.

Be bold with how you express your Christian love: patient, kind, not envious, boastful, arrogant or rude. Not insisting on its own way, not irritable, nor resentful. It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails (1 Cor 13).

This isn’t just a nice poem to recite at weddings, it is reality. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.the sword given to us that is so razor sharp it can  between the Soul and the Heart (Heb 4:12).

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s lovehas been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us (Rom 5).

To learn more about atheism and how to respond, visit http://carm.org/atheism