Hi friends <3 It was my intention to publish a new blog post today, but this day took a different path. I hope you don't mind me re-posting an old article <3 I really couldn't have spoken my heart any better today than through these old words.
Look for a brand new post on Thursday!
In John 11 I see a picture of Jesus that is so beautiful. His love and His grace to us are seen in everything He does in this chapter.
Lazarus, a close friend of Jesus, is sick in this chapter and it is obviously a very serious sickness. His sisters--Mary and Martha--send to Jesus and tell Him that Lazarus is sick.
In their message of “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick” (John 11:3), I can almost sense the urgency, the plea. Can’t you just imagine? Your brother whom you love deeply is sick and possibly dying. There is nothing you can do, but you reach out to Jesus and beg Him to come. You believe that if He comes, He can heal your brother.
And yet, Jesus didn’t come right away.
He stayed where He was for two days after receiving the message. It was only after two days, that He said to His disciples, “Let’s go to Judea.”
I see this and I wonder why He didn’t go right away. He was going to heal Lazarus anyway, so why didn’t He just go right away? God surely would’ve been glorified either way. Why couldn’t He have just spared all the pain that Mary and Martha were sure to face after their brother’s death?
And I wonder this because I am only human and I can’t see the whole picture. Yet I am thankful for a Savior that does see the whole picture.
My heart is broken in the next scene as I see both Martha and Mary say to Jesus the same thing (John 11:21, 32) “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Where were You?
And my heart hurts for them because I often wonder the same thing. I wonder why He didn’t come right away when I thought I needed Him to fix things immediately. I wonder where He was when everything is falling down around me.
We see the picture of Mary at the feet of Jesus, weeping and basically asking Him why He wasn’t there when they all needed Him most. And then we see a beautiful picture of Jesus…
“Jesus wept.” (John 11:35)
Jesus is weeping and I wonder why. He knows that He is going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He knows that everything is going to be okay and the sisters will be reunited with their brother very soon.
So why does He cry?
I believe that Jesus was weeping for Mary. He was weeping for Martha. He was weeping for the Jews who were weeping. He was weeping for the pain Lazarus had endured through His sickness that led to death.
The Bible doesn’t tell us why Jesus wept. But I believe He was weeping for their pain. Because they didn’t know the whole picture, like He did. He knew what was going to happen. They didn’t. All they knew at the time was that they were hurting and they wanted answers.
And in that moment, Jesus wept with them. He wept for their pain because He loved them.
And so it is with us.
Life is hard. Things don’t go our way. Things hurt us. We lose people we love. We are hurt by people we love. We feel abandoned. We feel lonely.
We stand there asking, “Why? Where were You?”
And the whole time Jesus is standing there, right next to us, weeping with us. Catching all of our tears and weeping every time our heart breaks in two.
I don’t know what you may be going through. I don’t know how your heart may be hurting. I don’t know how you are suffering.
But He does. He knows. And He weeps for you too.
You may wonder how God could possibly be glorified through a situation as deep and dark as yours is right now. I’m sure Mary and Martha felt the same way. Their brother had just died and I’m sure they felt hopeless and alone. Maybe they even felt betrayed by Jesus.
But He was right, as He always is.
God was glorified more through the death of Lazarus and the brokenness of the situation, more than if Jesus had come and healed him right away. Jesus knew what He was doing.
No matter how broken your heart is or how messed up your situation may be, God can and will be glorified through it if you hang on and wait for Him. Mary and Martha waited 4 days. You may have to wait 4 days, 4 weeks, or 4 decades, but trust Him enough to wait. He will come; there is no doubt about that.
And when He comes, He will perform a glorious miracle that makes all the suffering and pain worth it.
But until then, always remember.
He is weeping with you.
And He has you in the palm of His hand.
"I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
I remember doing an in-depth study of Ephesians back in 2013 and over and over again I kept coming back to this theme of unity.
In a time when churches split because of “worship styles,” and as Christians we tend to argue over the silliest things, is it really possible to obtain true unity? The unity that God is calling us to?
Well, the answer is yes, because it is not in our responsibility to create the unity, but to keep it. We are commanded to keep the unity of the Spirit. In other words, God united us as believers in His Spirit, and it is our responsibility to always seek to live in unity and stay away from things that would break that unity.
As I studied these verses I became more aware of things that were breaking unity in God’s people and His church. How often do we begin to judge others--especially other Christians--because they are from different religious or social backgrounds, etc.? Maybe they look differently, talk differently or act differently than we do. Often in these situations we begin to judge others and consider ourselves better than them. But what we are really doing is creating disunity in God’s church and His people. We are putting up barriers that Jesus already broke down (Ephesians 2:14), and in the process we are dimming our light as God's witnesses.
In Christ Jesus we are all one (Galatians 3:28). It doesn’t matter how many differences we have. We are all united by our common belief and faith in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I think it is time that we all begin to walk worthy of our calling in Christ. To walk worthy of this calling means that we need to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit. How are some practical ways that we can do that?
1) Seek peace. As Christians, peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit that we should be striving to maintain in our lives. Arguing over little things disrupts unity, so think about ways to resolve a disagreement peacefully. Speak with the one you are disagreeing with and discuss ways that you can work out something peacefully. Now this doesn’t just apply when you have disagreements with friends or other members of your church. This also applies in your family, with your siblings, parents, etc. Seeking to maintain unity in the family of God usually begins with maintaining peace in your home first!
2) Don’t judge. When I was studying about unity while I did my Ephesians study, I was convicted of areas in my own life when I would judge others. When people dress differently than us or live differently than we do, it is easy to be quick to justify or defend ourselves and judge the other person. But the only thing this is doing is dividing us. Like I said earlier, we are all one in Christ and we need to live that way.
3) Initiate friendships. This can sometimes be hard to do, but I urge you this month to seek out others who may be in your church or maybe they aren’t, who are different than you. Maybe you haven’t talked to them before because you thought it would be awkward since you’re so different and you wouldn’t have anything in common. I encourage you to “walk worthy of your calling,” and reach out to that person. Push past your differences and remember that you are united by your faith in Jesus Christ and your status as His children. You never know, you may just realize that you aren’t that different after all!
What are some ways that you think you could create unity in your family, friendships, or church relationships? What are some of your favorite verses in Ephesians 4? Would love to hear your thoughts below!
Oh my goodness, friends, what a day it is! I am so very excited to announce to you about the arrival of my dear friend Beth's very first book, "The Shield Series" (containing two novels in ONE!).
Beth is a wonderful writer and she just overflows with the love of Jesus! I'm so very proud of her with the release of this new book that I know you are going to just LOVE!
Ready to hear more??
"But thou, O Lord, art a Shield for me; my glory, and the Lifter up of mine head."
The SHIELD.... Amy Riley is a successful NYC photographer, living in a gorgeous apartment with plenty of money. She should be one of the happiest people on earth. But she's not. Why? Because she's running from the calling God has for her in being a NYPD police officer. Fear grips her life. She feels she's not capable of the calling. With God's help, Amy take's the Savior's hand and launches on the journey of being an officer. Pain grips so much of her life. Hurt from a dark past stays with her. But the importance of doing what God says is discovered. And most importantly, a Shield is found. And is always there.
The SHIELD 2.... Lydia Myers is a survivor of human trafficking; only she still lives in complete pain and torment. The lead singer for a local band, Lights, is also a survivor of human trafficking, but lives in peace and happiness. The singer starts a small group for girls who have come from human trafficking, hoping to encourage and share with them how she found freedom in Christ. She shares with them how they can find freedom too. Lydia attends, hoping to find a way to find peace. She is so tired of living in torment. She knows something has to change. Fear threatens to grip the lives of several citizens of NYC. But, a Shield is found... and rediscovered....
Beth Jane is an 18 year old author that loves her Jesus. She is in awe of all He’s done for her. She desires to share with others of Him! She wrote the Shield series during her 16th and 17th year.
She’d be so blessed if you would like to follow her journey.
You can check out her blogs, thisredeemdgirl16.blogspot.com , where she is doing a blog book, and her other blog, bethhere4ualways.blogspot.com. She has a YouTube channel called Wholeheartedly Abandoned and her Instagram is @bethjane_author!
God Bless you all! Psalm 27!
I hope you're just as excited for this book as I am! I know Beth has put so much hard work into these novels and I can't wait for you to get your copy. If you'd like to support Beth, check out the other tour dates for her blog tour here:
January 22nd, 2018--Worth It All Blog, https://jesusisworthitall.weebly.com/.... Book cover and Description!
January 23rd, 2018--Sunshine Girl Blog, bethhere4ualways.blogspot.com…. A Shield that cannot be Broken Through…. an article!
January 24th, 2018--The Chloe Blog, http://heresclo.blogspot.com/.... A Review!
January 25th, 2018, Don’t You Know That I’m Singing Blog--
http://blog.hellandfamily.com/DontYouKnowThatImSinging/ An Author Interview!
January 26th. 2018--UNIQUELY M (ARI) E Blog
https://uniquelymarieblog.wordpress.com/.... Character Interview!
January 27th, 2018, This Redeemed Girl-- thisredeemedgirl16.blogspot.com…. Just Believe… a look back on Beth's experience with the SHIELD!
And don't forget! Purchase your copy of "The Shield Series" here:
"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."
If you asked me to tell you just how much I loved my mom or my sister, I wouldn't fully be able to speak it to you with words.
There would be no humanly possible way for me to explain my love for them in words, because just saying, "I love them," doesn't express the depth of it. You would have to truly know me, to understand the greatness of the love.
If you asked me to tell you how well my best friend and I know each other, I wouldn't fully be able to express it to you. It wouldn't be something that you could understand with words or a phrase like, "We know each other so well." You would have to experience the relationship to understand the depth of it.
When I think about this things, I look at this verse and I wonder what it means when Paul prays that we would know the love of Christ.
Did he want us to simply hear about it or be told about this great love and accept it? Did he want us to experience it once and let that be enough? Is that what he is praying here? That we would know Christ's love like you know I love my family because I told you so?
No, it's not.
Because that's not what you were meant for.
The Greek word that Paul is using here doesn't simply mean to "know" something like I "know" who our President is or I "know" that the earth is round. That is simply a head knowledge. That means I know what I have heard, but I have never fully experienced it for myself.
That's not what Paul is praying for here.
The word he is using here in Greek, ginosko, means to know completely. This is a knowledge that you understand with your heart because you've experienced it personally, up close. It's not something you've read about or been told about. It's something you have lived and known to be true.
And that's what Paul is praying here for us.
That we would know Christ's love this way too. Not just as something we read about in Scripture or hear about in Sunday School. But that we would experience and fully know Christ's great love for us that is so deep and so wide, it's impossible to fully comprehend it.
But how do you experience and know something in that way? How do you learn to know Christ's love for you firsthand?
And I think it starts with this verse: "that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith."
This Greek word for "dwell"--katoikeo--basically means to permanently dwell somewhere. Think about your house. You live there on a daily basis, it's your safe haven, you know it inside and out. Think about the people you live with, your family. You know them at their best and their worst. You spend consist time with them. You dwell with them.
Because of that dwelling with them, you truly know them--better than anyone else on earth.
To know Christ's love, we must allow Him to dwell in our hearts. We need to make our hearts a safe dwelling place for Him.
What are some practical ways that you can invest in your relationship with Christ by dwelling with Him?
Develop daily spiritual disciplines--Bible study, Scripture memorization/meditation, prayer, worship, daily quiet time with God to listen for His voice. When you develop these things, you are investing in your relationship with Him and you are truly knowing Him, not just with your head but with your heart too. Make prayer a consistent practice so that going and talking to God comes more naturally than talking to your best friend.
Consistently search your heart to seek out any areas of sin in your life that are not allowing your heart to be a safe dwelling place for God. When you identify an area of sin, cut it out immediately.
Get an accountability system to keep you focused on your relationship with Christ.
When you learn to dwell with Christ and know Him, everything changes. You realize that you have a constant Friend who never leaves or forsakes you. And you understand that much more of His great love for you.
Because it's true.
He loves you oh, so much.
More than you could imagine, more than you could comprehend. Deeper than the deepest ocean. Higher than the tallest mountain. Wider than the largest desert. Longer than the span of history. His love is so much greater than you could imagine.
Let's soak in that love.
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
What are your thoughts on this chapter? Have you experienced Christ's love and redemption for yourself or just from what you've heard? How can you focus on dwelling with Christ this week? Share your thoughts in the comments!
*Greek words were found in the NKJV Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible. :)
Message from my friend, Livy...
Maximum impact for eternity. God-glorifying influence. Purpose fulfilled. Destiny embraced.
It’s what we all dream of. Finding our sweet spot, walking through doors of destiny, and seeing our God-given dreams come true.
We want to touch this world. We want to use our giftings and talents for His glory…but where do we begin?
Do you dream of writing a book? Self-publishing? Traditionally publishing? Starting a blog? Growing your blog? Earning income from your blog?
These are all beautiful dreams, aren’t they? But do you have a road map to get there? Do you know how to turn these dreams into a reality?
Maybe you don’t. But we do.
We want to help. You don’t have to walk this journey alone. Through our experience in writing, blogging, web-building, and self-publishing, we’ve learned a thing or two.
We’ve learned shortcuts, pitfalls to avoid, activities that waste your energy (and your time), as well as worth-while secrets and steps that can bring these writing dreams into reality!
We know how lonely, frustrating, and sometimes super confusing, this writing journey can be. Wouldn’t it be just blissful if you had some cheerleaders? Two sparkle-and-pep-filled ladies who can some alongside you and say GO, GO, GO, YOU GOT THIS!?
If this sounds like something your heart yearns for, well, you may have come to the right place.
Because this year, Bella and I are starting Cheerleader Sessions!
Cheerleader Sessions are a 60 minute Skype session, tailor-designed to help you map out and reach your goals for writing, self-publishing, blogging, platform-building…or all of the above!
We work with you to pinpoint your goals, give you solid-action steps you can take to achieve them, and deliver an overview of this information in a digital, print-friendly PDF file.
You can print out your tailor-made action-steps list, then spend a 60 minute Skype session talking to Bella and I about the details! During that session, you can ask questions, we can share our advice, and basically just sprinkle our pixie-dust of world-changing energy and encouragement, on you! :)
Isabella Morganthal is a twenty-year-old homeschool graduate residing in Pennsylvania. She’s a self-published author, blogger, speaker, and founder of The King’s Princess magazine for girls.
She’s been writing books and stories for over half her life. Bella founded her magazine ministry in January of 2013. Her first book, I Dare You: Finding Your Passion and Lighting Your World, was released on June 26, 2015. In addition, she has four other published titles, and more in the works.
Since she was a little girl, Bella has dreamed of inspiring her generation to not waste their youth. She aches to tell them the truth of who God is and who they are because of Him. Bella believes that God uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and He uses the weak things to reveal His strength (1 Corinthians 1:27).
I (Livy) am a twenty-something author, singer, and songwriter living on the beautiful shores of Mullet Lake, Michigan.
I am also a self-published author, blogger, speaker, and founder of Crown of Beauty Magazine. I founded Crown of Beauty in January 2013 and was successfully able to grow my readership to 50,000 web views per month.
I’ve self-published six-titles, both fiction and non-fiction. I enjoy crafting YA fiction that is pure, lovely, inspirational, and of course, entertaining!
I’m passionate about helping others discover and truly pursue their God-given dreams. I firmly believe that the Lord desires to release incredible gifts to the world, through our own unique dreams and talents, but we must be obedient and have faith in order to do so. We must step out onto the staircase, before we see the first stair arrive – that is faith. And that’s what we have been called to!
Taking baby steps are the only way to begin…and there’s never been a better time to start taking those steps, then right now!
We are currently collecting a waiting list, to see who is interested in these sessions.
"And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
A five letter word that we scatter around like confetti, but do we ever stop to ponder it? To think about what it means?
We get so caught up in the going and the doing and the moving, that do we ever stop and rest in the being? Being still. Being overcome by the love. Being filled with the grace.
I love the beginning of this chapter of Ephesians.
I read over the first few verses and I know the darkness of it. The darkness of a situation that mankind was powerless to change.
From the time Adam and Eve committed the first act of disobedience by eating that forbidden fruit, we were all on a crash course to destruction. We were all born with a sin nature. A nature that convinced us we could do things our own way and our way was better than any other way.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
As these verses and the ones in Ephesians tell us...there was no way we were getting out of this on our own. We were condemned to death because of what we'd done.
Two words that when placed together make the setting for the most beautiful story ever told.
Ephesians 2 says: "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)."
But sometimes we get this whole grace thing a little mixed up, don't we?
We get this gift a little bit confused.
And that's when we focus more on the going and the doing than the being. We get so caught up in earning the gift that we never slowed down long enough to just embrace it.
Grace...grace is a gift. A beautiful, priceless gift that was given to us by the God who stepped into our story and changed our course because He loved us too much to lose us forever.
But the works, they confuse us.
So we try to earn grace in every way possible. Dressing a certain way, going to church every Sunday and Wednesday, reading our Bibles out of duty every day and saying quick prayers before every meal, only talking to a certain kind of friends. We do all of these "good, Christian" things not because we want to, but instead out of duty or our own foolish, vain attempts at earning our salvation.
Let's say your dream was to visit the Grand Canyon. For your birthday, your parents give you an envelope with a letter and plane tickets detailing a huge trip they planned to send you to the Grand Canyon. They've paid for everything. Your dream is being handed to you as a gift.
What if you stared at the envelope for awhile and then handed it back and said, "Thank you, but I will do everything I can to earn it before I fully accept it. I'll work extra hours to save the money to pay you back."
It wouldn't really be a gift then...would it?
Or let's say you had a car accident and your car was rolled over and you were trapped inside. There was absolutely no way you were getting out on your own. Before long, the paramedics and rescue squads arrived and assured you that they would get you out. They were going to rescue you.
If you replied by saying, "Thank you, but first let me do a bunch of nice stuff for you," you would be considered crazy, right? After all, you're stuck. You aren't getting out of there and you aren't going to be doing anything to earn that rescue.
You see, when we make grace more than a gift, we forget the wonder of it.
We lose sight of the amazing love of God that He lavished on us so freely. We forget to just be still and remember His love.
Friends, what I'd love for you to take away from this is that you can stop striving to earn the grace you've already been given.
It's that gift that God has already offered to you and pushing it away while you try to earn it is the most futile thing you will ever do. You can't earn a gift. You can only accept it.
Now, before I close I did want to address one more thing.
While grace cannot be earned by good works, our good works should be the evidence that we have accepted the gift of grace.
Look right here: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
Let's talk about that gift to the Grand Canyon again. Instead of trying to earn the gift this time, after opening the envelope and seeing the news, you jump up and down excitedly and thank both your parents with big hugs.
But the next day nothing changed in your behavior.
You complain to your parents about little things and show them no respect. You show no gratitude and maybe even forget about your surprise dream trip coming up. Accepting the gift did not change you.
Let that not be said of us as children of God.
No, you can't earn the gift. But if the gift doesn't change you, what good is it in your life?
Instead of doing good works or living according to the Bible out of duty or a sense of obligation to earn something, may we live our good works as a way to thank God for the gift He has given us. May we live to glorify Christ in every action, word, and deed. May we make our lives a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the One who gave us everything because of His love. Let's love Him enough to live for Him.
And today I pray that you can take a moment to just be still and breathe.
Breathe in grace.
Boundless, limitless grace given to us every day.
What do you think about this idea of grace? What ways have you tried to earn grace instead of just receiving the gift? Share some ways that you think we could live a life of thanksgiving for the gift of grace so freely given to us, so that it changes us inside and out.
What are some things that you learned from Ephesians chapter 2?
Due to the subject matter of this post--human trafficking--parental guidance is advised.
She walks down the street and keeps her hands stuffed in the pockets of her grey hoodie. Look as small and invisible as possible. That's what she'd learned to do.
Her bright green eyes were now dull and had lost their flicker of life. She kept her blonde hair tucked under her hood and kept walking briskly.
Around her the world carried on their busy, merry way.
Cars blew their horns down the street crowded with five o' clock traffic. Mothers chatted in groups as they pushed their baby strollers up and down the sidewalk that was lined with happy, pretty flowers in little pots around the lampposts. Teenagers just like her laughed and joked with each other as they messed with their iPhones or giggled about the latest happenings at school.
And all around her the world seemed to carry on.
They didn't notice. Or maybe they didn't want to. Or maybe...maybe they just weren't aware.
She kept her eyes focused on the concrete under her feet. She had to get back to where she was going or there would be consequences. There always were.
She picked up her pace and lifted her head. Her gaze caught with that of another teenager, maybe a few years older than she.
Their eyes met for but a moment and she cracked inside. For she desperately wanted someone to see her...to know the truth. But she had also lost all hope. No one was aware. And she wasn't sure they ever would be.
So she ducked her head down and kept walking forward in the crowd.
Although the little story above is fictional, I can tell you a sad truth.
It's the reality of millions of people.
I was thirteen years old when I heard the words human trafficking for the very first time. I still remember the way my chest felt tight and the anger boiled beneath my skin as my heart and soul screamed, "This isn't right. How can this be real? I have to do something."
Since that time I have spent years of my life fighting against human trafficking--modern day slavery. The slavery that lives among us with invisible chains and we don't always see it.
You see, January is National Human Trafficking Awareness month.
Thirty-one days meant to make you and I more aware of the darkness living around us.
Some may ask, "What will awareness do? What difference will awareness make?"
Awareness could mean the difference between life and death.
You see, if you aren't aware of an evil lurking in your very own society, how will you ever know how to fight against it? If you aren't aware of this trap of darkness, how will you have the knowledge to avoid it?
Simply, what I want to do in this post is make you aware. I want you to know that there is a darkness so great that it has engulfed the lives of millions around the world. And even here.
Human trafficking exists here. In America. In your backyard.
Slavery is real.
But by God's grace, we are given the ability to fight it.
So yes, now you know. Human trafficking exists and it's real.
But you can do something about it.
Educate yourself, tell others, raise more awareness, give of your time, money, and talents to the fight against this horrific crime. Use your voice. Because we all have a voice we can use. Won't you use yours for freedom?
Let's make 2018 the year we stand against human trafficking and declare freedom for all.
Something I decided that I wanted to do for the new year here on my blog was begin a Bible study. After taking a poll on Facebook and Instagram, studying the book of Ephesians was the most popular answer.
For the next six weeks, join me on Thursdays as we study the book of Ephesians together. I will include some discussion questions at the bottom and would love for you to share your thoughts.
And now let's dive into Ephesians chapter 1!
When I took a look at Ephesians chapter one to write this post today, it took me some time to decide exactly what I wanted to talk about. There is so much in chapter one that it would clearly be impossible to write everything, but it was my desire to pull out the most important parts.
I think what I love most about this chapter is the way that it beautifully explains our redemption in Christ.
After reading it a few times the verse that caught my attention was 13, which says:
"In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise."
It made me ponder some things.
If we have the faith to trust in God for His salvation, why then do we not have the faith to trust Him with the every day things in our lives? Why do we cling to worry for our future instead of trust?
Before we accepted Jesus as our Savior, we were on our way to death and destruction. When we accepted His gift of salvation, He gave us life and made us His children. And we trusted Him to save us.
But how many times have I not trusted Him with the "little" things of my life?
I can trust Him to save me from death and I can trust Him with my life, but when my plans change? My trust gets just a little bit shaky.
When things don't turn out how I wanted, it's hard for me to trust Him that He knows what He's doing. If I have a slight interruption in my day or something becomes uncertain, I can spend more of my time worrying over it than actually trusting it to Jesus. Worry becomes more of a constant for me than trust.
But has He ever given me a reason to not trust Him?
"If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself." (2 Timothy 2:13)
No. There has never been a moment when He was unfaithful or untrustworthy. There was never a moment when He did not keep one of His promises to me.
Even when I don't have faith, even when I stop trusting Him, He keeps on being faithful and trustworthy to me.
Let's start trusting God with even the little things in our lives and especially the big things. Let's cling to Him instead of our worry. And let's thank Him for His mercy and faithfulness to us today. He is so good to us and blesses us so much more than we deserve.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." (Ephesians 1:3)
When looking at Ephesians chapter one, what is a verse or passage that stands out to you the most? Why do you think it's sometimes harder to trust God with the smaller things? Why do you believe it is so important to remember all the ways God has been faithful to us in the past? How can we remember to trust God every day and stop worrying?
Share your thoughts in the comments!
Happy New Year!
2018 is finally here and I'm so excited to embrace this new adventure God is leading me on.
And you see, He's leading you to a new adventure too.
Today is the first day of a 365 day adventure that He has written just for you. It won't look like anyone else's adventure, because it's unique to you. It won't turn out just how you planned, because His plans for you are good even when things go wrong.
Today is your day one. Your brand new adventure.
But trust me when I say that you cannot enter into this new adventure if you keep holding onto your past.
Because sometimes it's so much easier to hold onto what is behind and keep your focus fixed on what is gone. It's so much easier than looking forward and embracing the uncertainty.
But God gently whispers.
"Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." (Isaiah 43:19)
He is doing a new thing. Inviting you on a new adventure.
Won't you take the chance and let go? Step into your new beginning and live this adventure? Through all the ups and downs, hills and valleys, you will see that He is carrying you. Every step of the way. Every moment of the adventure. He is with you.
Let's take His hand and start adventuring.
What are some of the things you are most excited about looking ahead at 2018? Look out for an exciting blog post on Thursday as I start off the new year with a brand new Bible study on EPHESIANS! We will be studying Ephesians every Thursday together, starting this week. I'd love to have you join in the study with me.