#VOD: 1 Timothy 1:15

“This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” — and I am the worst of them.”

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When God speaks, He really speaks.
This morning, as I was at the gym doing some light accessory stuff I was talking with Haylee about prayer requests and one of my requests, was about not feeling like I am good enough.

Deep down inside I have always struggled with feeling insignificant, worthless, not good enough, etc… Which I think when it all comes down to it, we all have a bit of that struggle within ourselves. Regardless of what area it may be in (finances, physical, spiritual, relational, etc…).

On our own, none of us are good enough. Let’s be real here. At the core of us all, we struggle with doing nice things, reacting in nice ways, and speaking positive things to others. At times, yes it may be easy, but there are many occasions where our immediate reactions are negative! A good amount of people can correct it rather quickly and react in love, BUT our initial reactions aren’t positive.

I say that just so we can all see that it is true. At the core of it all, without the goodness of God and Jesus’ death on the cross, i’m not good enough. What Jesus did makes me good enough. There is nothing I have to do to be “good enough” because He already did it. Because of what Jesus did and my acceptance in that, I am good enough.

Really let that soak in today fam. We are only “good enough” because of what Christ has done. He makes us good enough, He makes me priceless, He makes me significant. I need not do anything but accept it…

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#VOD: Colossians 3:15

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

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The first part of this verse speaks about peace ruling in our hearts, which is vital for our lively-hood, BUT this verse continues on to discuss us being called into peace as one body.

You see, the sad part about the way the world is going right now is the division between people. Realistically, what makes it worse is that a good chunk of the Church body does not fully unify. Yes, when a terrible tragedy hits our nation there are prayer rallies and things of that nature, but after that, there is rarely much intermingling between Churches.

I’m no expert on it, but I feel that if we have the common grounds of Jesus that the little stuff shouldn’t matter…. I went to a wedding a few weekends ago and I heard a very sound piece of advice for a happy marriage. It went along the lines of, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” A week or so later, when I was having a very challenging day at work I got the same piece of advice…

What would our Church body look like if we didn’t sweat the small stuff? Yes, there will always be deeper theological differences, BUT what if we focused on the bigger things we can all agree on? What if we focused on turning our focus on loving the world, having peace within the body of Christ and radically showing the world that YES we disagree on some of the small stuff, but those small things do not cancel out the big thing, the only thing that really matters…. Jesus.

Let’s all take a look at our lives today and figure out if there are any small things dividing us. Is there a reason that our relationship with others isn’t going right? Maybe just maybe it’s the small stuff that is dividing you…

 

#VOD: Proverbs 17:28

“Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. “

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Truth be told, I wish this verse was on my heart many years ago. There have been so many times where I have let my pride have the best of me when it comes to certain conversations.

It is so very easy to let ourselves get wrapped up in speaking our minds when the opportunity arises, especially in today’s society. Realistically, I think our world would be a much better place if we would all learn to talk a bit less & listen a bit more.

This verse tells us a very simple & profound truth that can be found all throughout the Bible. That truth is, that often times silence is a much better answer. Being able to close our lips & NOT respond to certain things is a sign of wisdom & intelligence. Out of the many run-ins with people in the New Testament, it is easy to see that, for the most part, Jesus was a man of few words.

This world is full of harsh people with terrible intentions. Not only is this world full of physical violence it is also full of emotional and mental violence. Manipulation, foul words, bad-mouthing, judging & overall just harsh words. I’m sure at some point we have all experienced this is one context or another & we didn’t enjoy it very much. Let’s take the time to choose our words wisely, and know when to keep our lips closed.

#VOD: 2 Corinthians 3:17

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. “

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Because of Jesus, we have freedom in this life. The new covenant we have because of Jesus allows us to walk in freedom!

Although we have this power and ability to fully walk in freedom, we must be careful not to make the same mistake as Adam & Eve. Adam & Eve had all the freedom to eat of any tree they pleased except one (Genesis2:16-17). They had full freedom to eat, enjoy, relax and live a life completely unashamed, but they had a choice like we all do.

You see this freedom is given to us so that we can bless those around us and glorify God. Paul tells us in Galatians 5 that we cannot allow this freedom to be an opportunity to for our fleshly desires, but instead we should serve one another in love! There seems to be this terrible cancer going around where we feel that because God’s grace is sufficient (2 Corin. 12:9) that we shouldn’t feel bad about sin. Although that statement is partially true, we should feel bad when we do fall into sin, repent and turn away from it entirely…

The sad part comes in our lives when we allow that freedom granted to us from Jesus’ sacrifice to be a ticket for sin. We should not take Jesus’ sacrifice for granted and live however we so choose. We need to walk in freedom while we give Him our best each and every day.

We will all stumble, but there comes the point where it is no longer a “stumble” but a choice to live in that area of sin… Jesus has set us free to not live in guilt, shame, and condemnation! He set us free so we could walk in humility as we become more like Him each and every day…

#VOD: Proverbs 16:9

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”

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This verse is so very profound to me. It is so effortless in life to make our own plans & not let God determine our steps. God graciously allows us to make our own plans in life but merely wants to determine our steps. It’s not saying that we don’t have a choice in the matter, but actually the complete opposite!

We can make our plans and still allow God to determine our steps. I think we all have struggled in this area, especially when it comes to having “godly” ideas that will ultimately “bless” others. For me, I have been in a constant state of struggle when it comes to giving. I know very firmly what God has commanded me to give & I have seen great fruit in my life because of my obedience, BUT it does not always come quickly.

At times I struggle with wanting to use that money for other things in my life. Especially in the area of saving up for my future and the future of my children. It would seem logical & even ideal to be saving up that extra money to buy a house for my kids, put it away for college, save it for a rainy day, etc… Shoot we can even think that we could take that money and “bless” others with it! It’s been a struggle for me over the last few years when it comes to paying off some debt, saving for a rainy day and trying to save enough money to buy a house.

Although I struggle with thinking about how much “impact” that money can have in the life of those around me. I have to realize that although the plans I have for the future of myself and my children are amazing, Godly, and will ultimately bless my future, I have to stop and remember to let God direct my steps.

In my case, that means to continue to save as much as I can while I give what God has asked of me to give. That means being smart and making cutbacks in certain areas to ensure that I am maximizing what I can put away for that future. Although at this point in my life I do not have much money left over, I still put God first and allow Him to move…

I dream of the day that I am able to buy a house for my girls & I… Where I sit back, knowing that I was obedient and that the only way I was able to get into a house was because God provided. Yes, I can make plans of my own and choose to save. It’s only for a few months right? Wrong. By staying obedient and allowing God to direct my steps, there will be an immense amount of glory for Him when the time comes to the plans being accomplished.

Sometimes, He allows us to plan for the opportunity to be obedient to how He wants to execute the plan. His steps will ultimately perfect the plan much more than any amount of “wisdom” I can try and come up with…

#VOD: Proverbs 16:6

“Unfailing love and faithfulness make atonement for sin. By fearing the Lord, people avoid evil.”

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There is a lot that can be said about this verse. Particularly in the area of salvation and our need for a Savior. I believe that this verse also implies another profound truth that applies to the relationships in our lives.

In my eyes, it is shown all throughout the Bible God’s heart in community and relationships. Especially in the Gospels when you see Jesus’ relationship with His disciples and their relationship with others. In my time of study within the Gospels, I never saw anything that Jesus commanded being done in a solo manner. Time and time again we see the importance of community, love, faithfulness & unity amongst God’s people.

I know that this verse is speaking of the coming of Jesus and how God’s love & faithfulness is the reason for the atonement of our sins, BUT I also believe this is speaking of our relationship with others. We should be spending the time to be faithful and loving to our friends, family, co-workers, etc… By that love & faithfulness, we will have atonement for our sins as well. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4:8 that, “…love covers a multitude of sins.” We are also told by Jesus in Matthew 22 that loving your neighbor as yourself is equally as important as loving our God with all our hearts, souls & mind.

It’s easy to say that we love God and that we are faithful to Him. The part that brings the challenge to that claim is simply the test of how we love those around us. The Apostle John tells us in 1 John 4 that we cannot say that we love God if we hate our Christian brother or sister because how can we not love people that we can see, but claim to love what we cannot see…

Today, I urge us all to focus on being loving & faithful to those around us… This world has plenty of hate going around, why not concentrate on spreading some love instead…

 

#VOD: 1 Peter 1:3

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His great mercy that we have been born again because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation.” 

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Has it ever seemed weird to you that when we first get saved we are so overwhelmed at the fact that God’s grace is sufficient? In basic terms, that God loved us even when we didn’t “act” Christian…

I’m sure you know exactly what I am referring to. When we lived for our own desires, didn’t think twice about doing things and honestly lived, however, we wanted to. We come to a point in our life where we realize the overwhelming love and grace that God has for us and it is such a freeing experience. BUT then…

Religion creeps in. Some of us may start to feel like we have to perform to a certain standard for God’s love. Some of us start to feel like we have to go through certain checklists that make us more Godly. You know, reading every day, praying, worshiping, helping others, giving to the church, serving, etc…

Now, I’m not saying all of those things are extremely vital and important… What I am saying is that when we start doing them out of a false heart & false motives it starts to cause us to drift from the relationship Jesus wants with us.

My pastor has been speaking on the different “I am” statements that Jesus made & one statement he made on a Sunday truly spoke to me. He started talking about the redemptive power of Jesus and how He is the resurrection and the life. In a funny, but powerful way he talked about something similar to my blog today.

He went on to explain that when Jesus died on the cross and was thinking about each and every one of us He wasn’t ashamed of the sin in our lives, or the sin that will be in our lives. Jesus didn’t die to save us without knowing where we would be. That’s the beauty of the cross.

YES, we should flee from sin. YES, we should read our word. YES, we should pray, worship, give to the church, serve, etc… BUT, we do that out of an expression of love for God and those around us.

Let’s stop playing church fam… Jesus loves you. Jesus cares and Jesus is for you. Sin and all, He knew the price and still paid it.