“Your life is littered with signposts of God’s faithfulness. Regardless of your circumstances, take a moment and take a look at them. Remember Egypt. Remember what God has already overcome in your past as you face your present. Then leave the how to Him.”—Pastor Steven Furtick
“I think what we really want isn’t peace. It’s calm conditions. Unfortunately, Jesus never promised us that. He only promised us His presence:
Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20).”—Pastor Steven Furtick
i tend to beat myself up for missing the mark. falling short of the glory of God (romans 3.23). ultimately, for not being Jesus himself.
every drop of energy can be poured into not missing the target. an endless wrestling day and night. to be a “better person” (whatever that means). when we’re so wrapped up in our iniquities (literally means twisted good), we tend to think that we can abide by a list of do’s and don’ts, read our bibles, pray, go to church, etc, and we’ll be okay with God. he won’t be mad anymore. or we won’t feel guilty anymore. but no matter how hard we try, we simply can’t do it. it’s an impossible task. as Solomon would say, a “striving after the wind.”
let’s own that.
after adam and eve had eaten the fruit (not an apple by the way), after cain murdered his brother abel, and after many generations of descendants, genesis records that the “the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (6.5).
in psalm 14, it says that the LORD is looking down upon earth to see if anyone truly understands and seeks after God. he states, “…there is none who does good, not even one” (v3b).
the prophet Jeremiah later stated that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17.9).
yeah, that’s us…
it’s seems as though we have no hope within ourselves. ding ding ding ding ding!
there is absolutely no hope within ourselves to stop sinning. we can’t do it. we can’t not miss the target. it’s our default mode. it’s almost as if that’s all we know. we all have this idea of good and evil, right and wrong. but they have been twisted out of shape (iniquity). just like a bone that is dislocated or a muscle that is torn leads to pain and damage, so does a heart that isn’t centered completely on God. distorted beliefs and misconceptions of God, ourselves, and the world are the result. we may be striving to do “good” rather than evil and “right” rather than wrong, but in reality, our standards of good and right and just are not up to par; they miss the mark. God’s standards.
that’s our heart: selfish, not selfless. self-centered, not God-centered. prideful, not humble. evil, not good. hateful, not loving.
that’s sin. that’s us.
can we own that?
if we can say that’s us, that’s when sin shifts from being a burden weighing down our shoulders to a reason (many reasons!) to love Jesus. there’s something completely freeing about recognizing that i brutally murdered Jesus nearly two-thousand years ago. there’s something relieving about understanding that my sin was a whip’s stripe on his back, a nail piercing his wrist, a thorn stabbing his brow. while it may make us sick to our stomachs knowing what he had to endure, there is life in knowing that he gave his sinless life for the sinful us.
yes, we missed (and continue to miss) the mark, but he didn’t.
you see, when we try and try and try to not sin, we’re actually sinking deeper in the quicksand of sin. when we think that we can try harder to avoid sin and to be right with God, we’re really telling Jesus that his death on the cross wasn’t enough for us. we’re really telling him that the cross and his resurrection didn’t suffice for the penalty of our sin (pretending to be the judge, are we?). it is only when we come to grasp the truth that there was no other possible way that we could have a restored relationship with our Father unless Jesus lived the life that we’re called to live (hit the target; bulls-eye, you might say), died the death that we deserve due to our missing of the target, atoned for our sin by receiving the wrath of God, and conquered it all through his resurrection from the dead, that we will be free from sinning. in reality, our goal isn’t to not sin but to love God. and we have every reason to do so and no reason no to do so: our God took our place. no other “god” does this. our God does. even more than that, hebrews states that he is able to sympathize with us in our times of temptation, distress, and turmoil because he “in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (4.14+15).
our God is a personal, loving, relational God who understands both our triumphs and troubles. he is able to sympathize with us because he literally endured the same exact types of things we do. yet he overcame them, we couldn’t. he did this because he loves us and he wants us to know that.
there is freedom in knowing that there was no other way.
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
I honestly am frustrated because I want to look for that photo I have of him but I can’t find it. I’m not an animal lover, and I am NOT a fan of dogs. They scare me. But Kobe was just different. That’s why he’s special to me.
“Being a woman, I learned, means allowing myself to be constantly stirred by a spiritual locomotive known as grace. It means that I don’t have to fight to be better or stronger than others. It means that I am significant. Being a woman means that even just the clothes I wear can make an impact on people. It means I get to set a higher standard. It means that the beauty of my heart outweighs the beauty of my face. Being a woman, most of all, means I can be who I was called to be in Christ. It means redirecting my heart towards God, just God. It means He gets everything.”—A Woman of Praise (via sheenalovessunsets)
“The life of the Godly is not a straight line to glory, but they do get there. God sees to it. The best is yet to come. That is the unshakeable truth about the life of the woman and the man who follow Christ in obedience that flows from faith. I say it to the young who are strong and hopeful and I say it to the old for whom the outer nature is quickly wasting away: the best is yet to come. God is at work in the darkest times for our good and for Christ’s glory. He will see to it that the glory of His Son fills the earth and that in Him we find everlasting joy. The pledge that God has made to His people is unbreakable.”—John Piper (via tylersaldana)
if you give it to me, if you’re patient, it will be holy, it will be a great joy of your life.
Let me prepare you, let me be the writer, let me make the paper and the ink and when you let me be the author of your love story… it will be holy, it will give you a revelation of my love and an opportunity to walk it out every day.
Let me be the one who holds the pen and the result will be your encountering my love. which is the entire point, beloved.
Let me turn your greatest weakness into your greatest victory, your greatest testimony of my healing power, your greatest area of walking with me.
“God was pleased to make you His own. Pleased! He didn’t just feel sorry for you. He wasn’t obligated to you. He chose you because He delights in you. You were never meant to get through life by the skin of your teeth. You were meant to flourish in the love and acceptance of Almighty Jehovah. When He sings over you, dance!”—Beth Moore (via inspiredglory)
The single most difficult pursuit is truth and love.
That sentence is grammatically correct. I know every English teacher wanted to pluralize it to read: The most difficult pursuits are those of truth and love but that’s not what I meant to say.
True, love is a difficult pursuit. Correct, truth is a tough one, too.
But put them together, pursue truth and love at the same time, and hang on, baby, you’re in for the ride of your life.
But that’s the task of the Christian. Love in truth. Truth in love. Never one at the expense of the other. Never the embrace of love without the torch of truth. Never the heat of truth without the warmth of love.
Never would be easier if we could choose between the two, but we can’t. So John, in this second letter, calls for a hybrid.
“I love all of you in the truth, and all those who know the truth love you. We love you because of the truth that lives in us and will be with us forever. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, will be with us in truth and love.””
“I love when people ask me “Aren’t you taking your relationship with Jesus too seriously?” My response is always, “If you can find something more life changing and beautiful other than God came down in the form of a man and died as an atoning sacrifice for our sins, please let me know so I can devote my life to that instead.” I haven’t gotten a response yet.”—Auston Jones (via abiding-love)
“The essential, vital, indispensable, defining heart of worship is the experience of being satisfied with God. This satisfaction in God magnifies God in the heart. This explains why the apostle Paul makes so little distinction between worship as a congregational service and worship as a pattern of daily life. They have the same root – a passion for treasuring God as infinitely valuable. The impulse for singing a hymn and the impulse for visiting a prisoner is the same: a thirst for God – a desire to experience as much satisfaction in God as we can.”—John Piper
“Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast.
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
Love so amazing, so divine.
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”—When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (via hellomoon)