Not just getting through the day

Let’s check our pulse as we enter into Christmas week. How are you feeling? Peaceful and still, or burnt out and frazzled with the whirlwind of plans and obligations? (It’s okay to say you are not struggling, we are all just jealous!)

I feel like no matter how hard I try to focus on the coming of Jesus and “the reason for the season” I miss the mark. I start out strong with my SheReadsTruth Advent study in the morning before work (click here to read along!) but then by the time I am 15 minutes into my work day, all the familiar stresses overwhelm me and push the peace I had aside. Instead I become full of the normal cares of life and I wander away from the perfect peace I experienced before.

How do we keep that perfect peace of God’s love for us throughout the day?

In Luke chapter 15 Jesus tells a parable about a lost sheep. A shepherd had a hundred sheep but one of them had wandered off and gotten lost. The shepherd left the ninety-nine in open country while he left to search out the lost one. And when he found it, he brought it back on his shoulders rejoicing. 

My first reaction to this story was how irresponsible it was to leave the other 99 unattended. I’m sitting here thinking about all the dangers and risks of doing that. As that shepherd I’d be racked with guilt and dilemma. I love the one sheep, but what about all the others? How could I leave them all in the open country without any other protection? Wouldn’t I rather lose one than save one and lose 99?

Thankfully for us, God doesn’t think this way. He’s not hung up on the burdens and cares. Not that they aren’t important, but that his love is bigger than the cares. His love for us is so huge that to lay aside his heavenly crown and trade it for humanity is no big thing.

This is the mystery we try to unravel each Advent season. Putting together the pieces of prophecy and promise in scripture in light of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Christmas sets his plan of love in motion.

Be convinced of God’s love

I have made an effort to stop saying “get through the day”. I don’t want to just get through the day; it’s not the attitude I want to have. While we can’t have the mountaintop experience of faith every day, we still can remain in God’s love every day. All it takes is a simple prayer in the morning.

Don’t be discouraged if this is difficult. He sees your heart. He sees you trying. It is, after all, a work of the Spirit and unable to be manufactured by human hands. Pray and ask that the Lord would send you reminders throughout the day to strengthen you.

And then don’t sit around worrying; go, and do what you need to do. After Jesus would heal someone, he wouldn’t say to them, “Now go sit and think about what you’ve done some more and keep feeling bad about it.” No! He told them to “Go, and sin no more.”

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, netiher height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

All of these things are passing away as the earth is passing away. In its place we know will be a new heaven and earth, a perfect situation that won’t change. And in the meantime, though, the circumstances do not determine God’s unfailing love for us.  His love for us falls outside the power of anything or anyone else.

And here I am now – my day isn’t perfect, but again it is. And I don’t even have to wait for eternity to take advantage of it. The joy of salvation is hope. And hope is what I have this very minute.  

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.

Seeking God: Keep a soft heart

Reading: Psalm 95:1-7, Isaiah 40:11

Christ: Remember that I am your place of rest and your shelter of comfort. The cares of the world are stressful and not at all aligned with the original purpose for which you were made. The symptom of a hardened heart appears when you try to make a shelter of safety for yourself. I cannot do my work or you if your heart is hardened against me.

if you would hear his.jpg

Think: “The seed sown on the rock never brought any fruit to perfection” – Matthew Henry. When I lie, cheat, steal, I am hardening my heart against God’s heart for me. I may justify my choice, or ignore it altogether but it is still sin.

Pray: Dear Lord, let us keep the ground of our hearts as fertile soil which grows the seed of faith to perfection in the dew of your grace. Help me to notice the moment my heart refuses to receive your wisdom. Holy Spirit, make clear to me the state of my heart so that I may never miss out on the gentle leading of Jesus.


 

What do my social media posts say about who God is?

It’s one question I don’t think I ask enough.

I spend so much time online that sometimes I feel like I live inside the Internet. I am swept along with each wave of happiness, outrage, hilarity, disgust, and heartbreak that happen across the headlines every day.

And then a year in review pops up. I thought I was safe in His arms, secure, and savoring His Presence. I patted myself on the back for all my goodness. In actuality, rarely do I ever post except when exceptionally indignant or proud of my opinion. Everyone else sees a snarky, sarcastic and scathing “Christian”?  This should not be.

So am I saying that you should care what people think of you based on my online presence?

Yes. And No.

As a believer in Jesus, I say YES. We need to be constantly aware of how we are perceived by others. There is the obvious like hateful words, swearing, crude humor, grumbling. And the more subtle things too, like the things we may say with good intentions? Like choosing to respond to a controversial post in which Jesus’s opinion would be in the minority. When we are unkind people think God is unkind.

15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way.[a] Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.

1 Peter 3:15-16 NLT

And in doing just that: responding as Jesus would, we should NOT care what they think. Because we are safe in a Just God’s arms. We have been blessed and chosen by God. As such, we now have the freedom from man’s judgement to share this beauty of freedom with everyone. 

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

Hebrews 6:19 NLT

I started collecting inspiring images with wisdom written across in beautiful wide strokes. There is an abundance of them online, just waiting to speak some truth into someone’s day and then it occurred to me that maybe other people might appreciate them too. That’s why I started faith curator. It’s just a simple collection of faithful images I think are awesome and glorifying to God. Most images are taken straight from various places online, but I make my own from time to time too. Credit given where it is due.

So now, every time I post something, the question I ask myself is, not how do I look, but to whom do I look? I’m hoping you’ll see Jesus every time.

The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

Love Notes Series: Love Leads to Peace

Did you know that before Jesus was betrayed, he said a prayer for all believers to come?

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
-John 17:20-23
That’s right, he prayed for us here today, in 2016, that all the people who confess Jesus Christ as Lord, fully God and fully Man would be united in their faith, loving God and loving others, for the sake of the people who still might come to Christ?
We may clash from time to time, disagree about theology and about when, where and how to worship. But love between believers causes harmony. Harmony is peace. Love – Harmony – Peace. This is what Jesus brings.
“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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Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave a comment below or send us feedback at purediscipleblog [at] gmail.com. We love to hear from you!

~The PD Team

Love Notes Series: Inseparable

Our acceptance of Jesus invites the acceptance of our broken selves to God.  Once covered in the righteousness of Jesus, we are inseparable from God’s protection from that moment forward.
“Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?” -Romans 8:33.
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Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave a comment below or send us feedback at purediscipleblog [at] gmail.com. We love to hear from you!

~The PD Team

Love Notes Series: Obedience is Evidence

I couldn’t say it better than this, so here is the commentary straight from the my MacArthur Study Bible:
“Habitual obedience to his commandments is evidence of the believer’s love for Him and the Father. This is consistent with the teaching in James 2:14-26 that true saving faith is manifest by works produced by God in the transforming, regenerating power of the Spirit. those words are expressions of the love which the Spirit pours in the the believer’s heart.”
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Love Notes Series: Prove it.

Do you recall the story of Peter denying Jesus  the night he was betrayed? Three times people asked Peter if he was associated with Jesus. The man he had followed and shared life with for 3 years prior as a close confidante. “I don’t know the man,” he had said, three times.
And how after Jesus was resurrected, he reappeared to the apostle Peter:
Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.”
He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you  love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.”
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
John 21:15-17
Love is proven by our choice of action. It is not only to be lip-service, but a commitment. At work they look for measurable goals and judge my work by the results I bring, not by my self-evaluation.
This may seem obvious to the point of absurdity, but it is a point so easily missed. God is not looking for followers to click “Like” on his page and answer “Christian” in the text field next to “Religion”. He wants to see your heart so moved by his love for you that you will be deeply motivated to work for his cause.
And not just that – He wants the opportunity to work in and through you. He wants to work TOGETHER with you.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:17
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Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave a comment below or send us feedback at purediscipleblog [at] gmail.com. We love to hear from you!

~The PD Team

Love Notes Series: God’s Essential Quality

God is the essence of love; it is inherent in all he does. Even his judgement and wrath are perfectly harmonized with His love.
Someone may profess to be a Christian but only those who display his love like their heavenly father actually possess His divine nature and are truly born again.
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Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave a comment below or send us feedback at purediscipleblog [at] gmail.com. We love to hear from you!

~The PD Team

Love Notes Series: The Silliest Question

I ask my husband the same maddening question at least once or twice a week.
“Do you love me?”
“Yes,” he replies.
“How much?”
“A lot.” He is absorbed in his computer screen.
Hmph, I think to myself, He should say yes, but that didn’t do it for me. I’m still craving something stronger.
Sometimes I feel insecure, unpretty and in need of reassurance, and I want someone to convince me of my loved-ness. When I ask this mindless question I am really asking for something that he cannot give me with a word.
I used to think this was because we overused the word, causing its true guttural meaning to fade little by little. We say, “I love those shoes!” or “I love her hair cut” or “Tell me you love me”. But really, I think it is because love lives in an action, not in the verbal word. Anyone can say anything. But to act it out is real and tangible and measurable.
In 1 Corinthians, of course, Paul is describing how love ought to look between one another. It is always patient and gracious. never rough, arrogant or boastful.
Instead of asking my husband this silly question which really means nothing, I should see what he is doing. Because on that computer screen, he has been updating our budget, paying the bills, and making sure we have enough to make ends meet by the end of the month. He is purchasing my vitamins on amazon and answering emails for work. It’s not moonlit-gondolas-in-Venice-candle-lit-dinner “love” – That kind is just for show. It’s practical, unglamourous, love, that works for the good of another. That’s fulfilling and good for the soul.
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Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave a comment below or send us feedback at purediscipleblog [at] gmail.com. We love to hear from you!

~The PD Team