Saturday, January 17, 2015
This began as a journal entry, and I thought "Why not blog it?" So here I am.
I just read Matthew 7. I encourage you to read it. It is so intense! The reality of what Jesus said... should we not tremble? If our faith is securely planted on the "bedrock" He speaks of, so wonderful! But what of others? What of your aunt, friend, coworker or child? They are destined for eternal separation from God! How can we discuss trivial things day after day, and totally dismiss the urgency of the gospel?
Knowing that "the gateway to life is very narrow," ought we not to be absolutely certain this message we preach, this gospel we present, is more than a simple prayer uttered for the alleviation of guilt or fear? Are we truly leading people to the narrow gate, or are they merely walking to and peering through it? I am fearful for the many that I see whose lives do not testify to the heart change they claim. Whose "tree," as referenced in Matthew 7:20, does not produce fruit.
As for me, personally, how much do I condone by silence? How much responsibility do I forsake by giving silent approval? There is some part of what I condone by silence that I am personally responsible for, and I am genuinely concerned for that part I play, for I will be judged for it.
Let me clarify that in saying all of the above I am not suggesting in any way that we gain salvation through "works." The moment we believe that is the moment we forsake the grace and peace of the work of the gospel in our hearts and lives.
But as in the words of Paul "Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? Certainly not!"
But more than in the act of attempting to abuse the cross of Christ, consider the dangerous results/possibilities of such an attempt!
True heart change leads to true life change. If a life is not changed; if the passions, desires, actions, words, and pursuits show no alteration of course congruent with the proclamation of Christ as Lord, I begin to wonder at the sincerity and truth of the proclamation. Would Christ look at me--or you--and say "There is she/he that follows Me. They are my disciple"?
Think of it this way: If a person was slowly dying due to heart failure, and received a heart transplant, would we consider the operation a success if the patient did not show signs of life/improvement?
Would we consider it hope for success if he died? Of course not!
So it is with a spiritual change of heart. It will take time and healing and determination for every symptom of the effects of the old heart to diminish, and some may never go away entirely, but you would expect and seek consistent rehabilitation of functions, and lay the foundation for new habits, would you not?
I simply ask that we make an honest evaluation of our own hearts, and the way in which we present (or condone the presentation of) the gospel. It is so vital. So important!
"Not everyone who calls out to Me 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven."
"Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves."
Please, my friends, this is not something we can afford to get wrong. I want to spend forever with you and Jesus!
Friday, January 9, 2015
"God is (more than) enough."
I wonder how many times I will come back to this truth before I die? Probably too many times to count.
I seem to be reminded of it weekly, if not daily, now.
Every relationship fails me. Everyone, young or old, friend or acquaintance, family member or stranger, lets me down.
Except my Lord.
I feel I reiterate this repeatedly. Because God speaks it to me repeatedly. Because I NEED Him to remind me constantly.
When I lie in bed awake at night lonely, broken and confused:"I am enough."
When another friend or family member lets me down: "I am enough."
When death claims yet another: "I am enough."
When I am called to walk in the unknown: "I am enough."
When I am sick or in pain: "I am enough."
When I am buried in shame: "I am enough."
When I am in need: "I am enough."
Over. And over. And over. And over. Again and again. And it never ceases to be the most precious reminder, the greatest of delights, the sweetest of promises. It reminds me of something my dad taught me as a child in relation to God commanding us to have no other gods before Him: "He's not just saying 'thou shalt not,' He's saying 'You can have Me.'"
When He says "no" to something lesser, He is saying "yes" to something greater; "You can have Me."
Oh how delightful is this truth! In Him is fullness of joy. In Him is soul-satisfying love and the fulfillment of the deepest of desires. And what greater gift is there, what greater answer to every prayer of anguish; every pain, every need, every desire, every agonizing circumstance, than God Himself? In Him is the culmination of every good thing. Oh my soul--be NOT cast down within me, for the Satisfier of Souls has made His claim upon thee.
Dwell on this today: God is enough.
This song came to mind as I was considering these things this morning. It's an "oldie but goodie" as some would say (haha and others would say it isn't an oldie, but you get my drift--it's not exactly new).
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Well folks, I have an announcement! I've hinted at this here and there, but I think it's time to spill the beans:
I've been given an exciting opportunity in Michigan involving multiple passions and interests, with great potential for learning and personal growth. After much thought, prayer and counsel from those nearest me, I feel I've been given clear direction and that God has led me to seize the opportunity, so I am excited to announce that I will be heading to MI the end of this month for a 2 month stay–through February and March–and will be working alongside a team of other young ladies on the costuming and production of a highschool play (The Wizard of Oz).
This was no small decision for me; for multiple reasons, but one big one being that I've never been away from home for more than two weeks and I will also be going without my family. There have already been tears and a bit of heartache involved, but I have peace that this is the right decision, and I go with the full blessing and support of my parents/family (which is huge for me).
From the practical/business side of things, I have a few openings for a session here and there (if the weather cooperates) before I leave. Remember that I'll need to have time for editing/processing, so if you're interested in a session, contact me ASAP. I will be returning to my business in April (and intend to carry my camera with me to MI of course!).
I will seriously miss many of you, and I hope to see most of my local peeps before I leave! Hit me up if you'd like to go out for coffee (I've actually been drinking that stuff! Not black, but coffee nonetheless) or something. And if you would, be in prayer for myself and my family as I prepare to take this exciting new step!
If you have any questions, shoot me a text or PM on Facebook and I will get to them as I am able!