#VOD: Psalm 33:18

 

“But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love.”

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Isn’t this such a weird piece of the Bible?! I mean at the surface level it seems to be contradicting right?! Fear & hope in His unfailing love?! That seems insane! But it’s not…

The “fear” that is being talked about here isn’t the same fear we think of. It’s actually much different. It’s a healthy sense of fear… Pretty much the knowledge that God could stop our hearts at any moment, but doesn’t. The knowledge that God could have condemned us all to hell, but didn’t. I would imagine the best example to compare would be the fear that the Israelites felt walking through the Red Sea! Knowing that at any moment, the waves could come crashing down on all of them…

You see, when we dig into this concept deeper they actually perfectly compliment each other… having that healthy fear of God compounds our hope in His unfailing love! Because we have a healthy fear of what God COULD DO but He doesn’t. He withholds what’s we all deserve to give us something that we don’t… THAT’s love. Crazy, passionate, scandalous love!

No matter where you are in life, He loves you. We should all develop a healthy level of fear for what God COULD do, but doesn’t. That fear will drive us into a deeper understanding of His love.

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#VOD: Ephesians 4:29

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”

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If only we truly understood the power of our words! Coming from a place of complete vulnerability, I struggle on a daily basis because of the words others have spoken to me (Even years later). It’s so easy to let our tongues get away from us & say hurtful things…

Paul is very clear here when he is speaking on this matter. Something said in a moment of hurt and/or frustration can wound someone for years to come. I say this because I know this. I still find myself on a daily basis struggling with my identity being is what others have said about me… This post isn’t going to be about how our identity is in Christ & His words over us, but more so a call to us all to watch how we speak to others…

Regardless of how frustrated you may be, they are people. They are people with feelings & they deserve to be spoken to with respect. EVEN MORE SO they are people who Jesus died for & that Jesus’ deeply cares for… It doesn’t matter who it is, those are still true.

At times, it may be something as simple as not saying anything! Other times, it’s rephrasing your frustrations into a healthy conversation that is encouraging, helpful & meaningful. Words hurt & the wounds can last a lot longer then any of us could ever imagine.

We need to listen to Paul on this matter and control our tongues. “Speaking my mind” has become the new term in today’s culture. In a lot of ways, that term is just a scapegoat for being rude, uncontrolled & careless with words.

We can get our frustrations out in a healthy & productive manner… It just takes effort. Whenever we speak, think about the fact that you are speaking to someone that Jesus’ died for & deeply cares for….

#VOD: Psalm 68:19

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”

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“Who daily bears our burdens.” What a portion of scripture to read! The creator of everything bears our burdens daily?! But why? How many people in your life do you that TRULY will bear ALL your burdens for no reason at all besides simple love & affection? No ties, no strings attached, no obligation, but purely the fact that they love you?

Yes, there may be parents, friends & family members that occasionally bear your burdens, or attempt to help with those burdens but to truly take those burdens from you COMPLETELY and bear them as their own? Definitely not. God does this because He wants to. Not because He needs to, but simply because He looks at you & wants you to enjoy all that He has for you…

1- He wants to

First off, I want to address the cancer in the world that is the “self-made” epidemic going around. So many of us choose to handle things ourselves and think that if we get helped through it that we aren’t good enough. That’s truly nonsense. For a long time, I walked through life feeling like I need to do the work myself because God has enough things to worry about. In a way, I had this twisted mindset that I am doing Him some kind of favor by not allowing Him to bear my burdens. The simple truth is, that He truly WANTS to bear those burdens for us all.

2- Bears them daily

God bears our burdens DAILY, so we must continually trust in His daily provisions. It is easy and typical for us to focus on tomorrow, the next day, next week, etc… 5-year plans, 10-year plans, goals, etc… are all amazing things, but they change so frequently that at times we can spend WAY too much time thinking about those things. We need to simply trust God and His plan. There is a reason that the Bible talks about God providing DAILY. He doesn’t want us to be overstressed thinking about things that we have no control over. I have always had a “5-year” plan when it comes to my life, but NOTHING of my 5-year plan ever stays the same. Goals, situations, lifestyle, etc… are constantly changing when I focus on where God is leading me. There is no reason to get so set in your goals that you forget that He bears our burdens on a daily basis, so we should focus on our daily goals.

No matter where life is, He is there. It may not make sense in the moment, but that’s why it’s called faith. We are called to trust in His ultimate plan for our life & use wisdom to do our part in His plan, not our own…

#VOD: 1 Chronicles 16:34

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

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There are two very important truths to remember in life. Both of these truths will radically change the way you see things & will help us remain grateful for everything in life. Recently I have been doing a lot of self-reflection with where my life is and where my values are. To be honest, I have come to realize that I can tend to be a bit of a brat when it comes to being a child of God. There was a lot of ingratitude, a lot of negativity and a lot of self-piety when it came to where my life was… 

Verses like this help our hearts, mind, and spirit stay focused on all the things He has to offer us. Often times if we sit back we can realize how amazing He is to us and how great our lives are. At times it takes work, but we can always count on the fact that He is good and that His love does endure forever…

1- He is good.

This isn’t based on how we feel our lives are going. There have been many times where I have humbly sat back and thought about all the things that have happened in life. The good, bad, ugly, great, etc… If I look at all of those moments in my life & I reflect on where I am at today it is easy for me to see that they all have made me who I am. They weren’t what I had planned, but that’s why the word says, “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 NIV) God knows what He is doing and we can trust that it is good because He is good…

2- His love endures forever.

Not only does His love endure forever, but it is a love that is not shaken by our actions. The bible is clear when it says that, “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8 NIV) You see, we did absolutely nothing to earn His love, earn His grace, earn His affection and to deserve this gift, BUT GOD’s love for us all is a love that none of us have ever experienced…

God tells us, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (Psalm 46:10-11 NIV) There is no reason to try and earn what God freely gives… We have so much to be thankful for.

#VOD: Psalms 51:10

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

 

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David knew his desperation for God. He knew how badly he needed God to do a mighty work in his life! It is by God & God alone that we are made clean. It is by God & God alone that we can have a loyal spirit set on things above. 

This entire Psalm speaks of David’s understanding of his desperation for God to do a mighty work in his life. Nothing of David’s own power would make a difference. 

1- “We didn’t do anything to earn the gift, so we can’t do anything to sustain it.” -Pastor Russ Chambers

I think this aligns perfectly with this Psalm. As believers, we tend to fall into a false mindset of trying to earn God’s approval and love. As if we ever earned it in the first place? 

That always conflicted in my mind & heart. When I first got saved I knew how desperately I needed God in my life, but as I started walking with Christ I felt as if my obedience, works, study time, worship time & prayer life would be the difference. 

I’m not saying that those areas don’t bring us into a better understanding & awareness of God, but instead that those things are not what our relationship hinges on. 

2- A clean heart & loyal spirit

Neither of these is within our own power. Having a clean heart & a loyal spirit is something only God can do. We just simply acknowledge, surrender & ask. He is faithful to show up. Always has & always will. 

He is the one & only source of true life. He created us, He forgave us, He redeemed us & He wants us. We have nothing that He needs, but everything that He wants… A devoted life, a clean heart & a loyal spirit….

#VOD: Psalms 9:1

“I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.”

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There should be passion and action for our praise! Not only should be able to deeply praise Him from our hearts, but that praise should push us towards telling everyone we know about all the amazing things God has done in our lives. 

1- Praise with all of our hearts

This may seem like a simple action, but to truly praise Him with all of our hearts is not so simple. There are times I feel that I am half-hearted with God. Where I praise Him, but a part of me is still struggling with certain disappointments and times I feel like God let me down. The truth is, that God has never and will never fail. That’s a simple truth stated throughout God’s word.  We have to make it an effort to check out hearts on a moment by moment basis to make sure our hearts are fully praising God.

2- We should be telling everyone about the great joy we have because of God

I love the challenge that this portion of scripture gives! If our hearts are truly praising God, if we think He is the greatest thing ever & we truly think that Jesus is the savior of the world that promises an eternity in heaven then why wouldn’t we tell everyone about it?! I know when I first started Crossfit I told everyone… I was almost as bad as a vegan telling everyone that they are vegan! We have so many trends in this world that people talk about on a daily basis, but yet the savior of the world we don’t? I find that very conflicting in my heart! We shouldn’t be able to keep our mouths closed when it comes to how amazing our God is!

As the holiday season approaches, we should make sure to maximize our time with our families and also maximize the time we can show them the love of Christ. The holiday season is one of the best times to share the love of Christ with those you do not get to see on a regular basis… Don’t miss out!

#VOD: Isaiah 25:1

“O Lord, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them.”

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Time and time again verses like these challenge my hearts commitment towards God and His purpose in my life. There have been multiple points in my life where I have been at a crossroad that seemed like my life would be “ruined” aka I was being extremely dramatic.

1- We can trust that He has planned great things for us

Nothing that God has planned for us will end up being for our good and His glory. I will repeat that time & time again. Absolutely NOTHING that God has planned for us. It may not seem like it in the moment, but with a perspective shift, it will open our eyes to much greater. I know that when I look back at every major event in my life that they have all ultimately worked out in my favor. In the moment it did not seem that way, but they did. This should give us the faith required to move forward KNOWING that His plan for us all is great. 

2- He will accomplish it

I give WAY too much weight to decision making. Yes, seek Him, pray, seek wisdom, etc… BUT have peace that when you make a decision AFTER seeking His face that you’re good. Nothing on this earth will stop God from accomplishing His purpose. Nothing. Sorry, you aren’t that cool. There have been many decisions I have made that would be easier for me to feel regret on, BUT I refuse to live that way. His plan and purpose are great & it will be accomplished, BUT there is a catch. I must continue to seek Him in all my ways, and so do you.

3- Whatever we do, we must do it to honor and praise His name

When we make decisions with an eternity mindset, with a mindset set on Kingdom things, then we have nothing to fear! Yes, we will make mistakes and the “wrong” decision at times, BUT that doesn’t mean God won’t honor our hearts. I’ll finish with a quick little story.
Once upon a time, my beautiful little girls decided they wanted to be helpful and pick up the laundry in their room… BUT they took their clean clothes and mixed them with the dirty ones. Long story short, instead of one small load of laundry it became two big loads of laundry aka much more work for me… I knew that in their hearts they were really trying to help, even though it was the opposite of helpful…

Same goes for God. It’s our hearts that matter most. That’s what He looks at in all actions. He is the one who produces the fruit, we just have to plant with a good heart.