To My Most Avid Reader

To My Most Avid Reader,

You graduate from college this Saturday. People are saying that this is when “real life” begins. Now you are an adult. This is what all your training is for. This is where you have been headed all along.

I’m saying: this is going to be fun.

Now is the only moment God has entrusted you with. Seize it! Shape your future by living every day in deliberate pursuit of the Holy One. Start a lifestyle that is so good you’ll take it to the grave with you. Question everything you believe and find that God can answer the deepest queries. Seek Him & you will be the most happy, most beautiful woman alive.

Don’t ever think that you are wise enough, but respect the Lord and stay away from evil. This will make you healthy, and you will feel strong. (Proverbs 3:7-8 CEV)

Don’t work towards retirement; work to bring God’s kingdom to earth in the hearts of those around you. Spend long hours slaving over numbers on pages but spend many more in prayer for lost souls, and in prayer for the health of your own precious soul. The Lion of Judah has written your name on Himself. Surely that is a big enough truth to propel you to greater service, to more intense love for others.

Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:6)

You’re so good at being friends with the friendless. You’re tolerant and open in all the right ways. You are willing to work and to share your knowledge. You are an infant in evil, but mature in your thoughts (1 Corinthians 14:20). You have all the necessary traits of a disciple. Go.

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:8-10)

Many have spent this time of their life lamenting their relationship status. You have nothing to lament because your status is, “daughter of the King,” “in a Divine Romance,” and “in love with the Lover of my soul.” Be made awesome in this time. God wants you to come closer. There is always more of Him to fall in love with.

The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

You are quite possibly my only avid reader, but this only supports my description of your character. You’re a champion of underdogs as was our Lord and Savior, Jesus. I pray that yours will be an abundant life of communion with King Jesus. I want you to be happy because you’re my sister and I love you.

Be satisfied with His goodness.

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Make Way

Walking out of the gym I hear a man ask, “you did not get a snack?” I stop him as he tries to walk back in the door. I peer into the rainy, street-light-orange night. Round heads on stick necks, all dark silhouettes with white eye balls, turn towards me. I address the first pair of eyes I see:
“Did you just straight up lie or did I not give you a snack?” I ask in a slightly too loud & accusatory tone. He shakes his head. He can’t help it, his eyes dart to the boy beside him whose head is hung. I had noticed this boy trying to get a snack from someone else earlier in the night, though I know I gave him one. I approach the little boy, full of disappointment and fear that he does not get enough to eat.
I bend over, wanting to read his eyes to discover the truth. I address him by name, “are you hungry or do you just want another snack?” He does not answer or look up. I try to raise his face to mine but his chin is glued to his chest. His mouth is set in a deep frown, certainly his eyes are full of tears. I’m afraid of squeezing his cheeks too hard. When I see that he is adamant in his resistance to my efforts, and horribly ashamed, I kiss him on the head and walk away.
Seconds after turning my back I regret not trying harder or praying for him or reminding him to ask us for food if he is ever truly hungry. I re-hash my actions all the way to my truck but I know that what I did was right. He knows that lying is wrong. I showed him a tiny glimpse of redeeming love in the face of sin (in the tangible form of a kiss on the head.) I wish nothing so deeply as for him to see that as a reflection of Christ’s loving, atoning sacrifice. Now I ask and plead that the Holy Spirit move in his little boy’s heart. That his guilt be turned into a quest for forgiveness, instead of to apathy and selfishness. I long to know that he stays up, even now, considering the futility of his sin, and recalling the Bible verses we have led him to so carefully store away in his heart.
I have done my part. I have fought against barriers and made room for revival.
There is nothing I can do to ensure a desire for forgiveness in his heart.
No card I can send,
No money I can raise,
No verse I can quote.
This is the part where I submit his oppressed soul to God,
And intercede on His behalf
The way I am sure someone interceded for me on the night I was saved.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom~Psalm 90:12

Righteousness will go before Him (the Lord) and make his footsteps a way.~Psalm 85:13

God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”~Galations 4:6

Day 17

Here in the U.S. spiritual laziness can seem inevitable. This is because we don’t need God. We have food, jobs, clothes, medicine, and our lives are so well supplied that God becomes more of a side dish than an entree. If He does not take the liberty of interrupting our lives-whether through health issues, financial troubles, or our own sin traps-most of us do not see the need to rely on Him fully. Left to our own devices we think we’re good.
A more wrong conclusion has never been reached.
We have to seek hard the God of our salvation while we live on this big, distracting planet. Otherwise we neglect the only Good there is. He offers Himself to us every moment. You want to know Him? Ask.
I did not know it when I started but this is why I am on a “fast.”If I settle into my default routine I forget about God. It’s ridiculous beyond ridiculous how ungrateful I can be.
Wow.
He saves me from eternal death, puts life and joy in me, and I have to forfeit the use of my green plastic credit card just to remember to thank Him. I’ve got an extremely long way to go.

Let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercy is great.~2 Samuel 24:14b

Seek Him. He’s setting me straight through a slow process.

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.~2 Corinthians 10:3-4 <<<That's why it is so hard. We can't see the enemy, we can't see God. But He is there, and there are no better offers than this:

Trust in the Lord and do good….Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him & He will act.~Psalm 37

Talitha Cumi

Who am I that You have brought me thus far?~David, 2 Samuel 7:18-29

Who am I that You pour out all joy on me?
Who am I that You bless me in every way?
Who am I to help care for the needy people here on earth?
Who am I that you lead sojourners into my life?

The world I see is a lovely one. It’s a world of hope and mercy. A place of confusion but not suspicion. It’s a world of broken people and broken hearts, and potential to be made well. It’s a land bursting with opportunity, with chances to make changes. This is a world where people who believe in something can come together and give their dream birth. It’s a nation indulging in sin while crying out for knowledge. It’s a world that says, “help, I’m drowning!” It’s a country that gives some much so that they will be equipped to help those with little.
It’s a planet in the hands of a lively, creative God who loves His children and looks forward to the time of restoration.

And He says to me, “Little girl, arise.”

Let us hold less tightly to our interpretations of God’s law and cling more desperately to Jesus and the relationships we have with other sinners.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets. ~Matthew 22:37-40

Real Talk

Living counter-culturally is going to be harder than I thought. Because the American church  is blending in so well with the culture (and forfeiting the ideals of Jesus) it is hard to say what really should be going on in a Christian’s life. And it is oh-so difficult to live with a Heavenly mindset in a culture obsessed with being comfortable right now! Less sinning should not be the only thing that’s different between the life of any given Christian and any given Unbeliever. There’s so much more to being a Christ follower. Hear it from the lips of Jesus Himself:

…Come you who are blessed by my father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer Him saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? and when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?” And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”~Matthew 25:34-40

 

It’s difficult! Living the way Jesus did is super hard. It is hard to do lots of good things (sans earthly reward) and not begin thinking to highly of yourself. Dying to self is just that…dying. It is hard to know where to start in a world as wide & wild & wrecked as this, It’s challenging, grueling, difficult.

But wait.

God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. That’s why he sent Christ to make us what we are. ~Ephesians 2:10

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.~Matthew 11:29

He’s got a plan. And a promise. If you believe in God and all the words of Jesus above…then why do you hesitate to let it all go? Forget temporary “comforts,” go for gold, and find rest for your soul! Ask Him to send His Good Spirit to lead you on level ground (Psalm 143.) Follow Him like a sheep, not turning away for the sake of earthly desires or security. Step into your new life.

Enjoy the wild ride.

Soul Trouble

“Do you think you can do a better job with your life than I can?” God asks

God’s voice, it comes, calm through stormy thoughts and emotions. Like the moon on a lake, His voice glances off every ripple, all the waves. And it’s peaceful. He calls me to go, I know not where. He promises grand adventure, I insist on knowing how I can get myself there.
But it’s not about that.
It’s about my obedience. Keeping His word. Loving the unlovable. Telling the Truth. Dying a little bit here and there.
“And I will give them one heart, and a new Spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people and I will be their God.”-Ezekiel 11:19&20
Phew. All I have to do is tell Him that I love Him.
“For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has Himself given me a commandment-what to say and what to speak. And I know that His commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”~Jesus
I’m not here to figure out what is going to happen next. It is my joy to follow Him around this corner, to listen, obey, speak the Good News. That never changes.

Ask Him for a some peace. Feel it wash over you, erasing the trouble from your tired tired soul.

Life’s Lead Weight

The life He has chosen for me-

And I have agreed to-is going to be hard

It is not called the straight and narrow

Inaccurately.

This He tells me,

This I hear,

The lesson sinks deep into my stomach:

A lead weight

To last a lifetime.

Joy shines down to clarify the darkest of darks;

A broken Alleluia rolls off my tongue.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14)