I Don’t Want The Crumbs

In my grandma’s house, on top of her piano, are old black and white pictures of her grandparents, great grandparents, cousins, etc… She has told me their names before and how I’m related to them but honestly, I couldn’t tell you if I was paid to (Sorry Nanny).
I do remember though, that whenever she talks about the people in the pictures, I can tell that they mean alot to her. Because she knew them personally, for herself, firsthand. The difference between my relationship with them, and my grandma’s reationship with them is that she knew them personally, while I just know second-hand acounts, stories, and basically just a brief overview of who they are. 


When I was first saved, I wouldn’t study the Bible for myself. My spiritual life was barely surviving on devotionals sent to my email each morning, seeing a verse against a pretty background on Instagram, and reading a cheesy, cliche, christian quote on Facebook. While those things can be good, they can’t sustain me a healthy relationship with God. 

I love to listening to John Piper’s Ask Pastor John videos on Youtube. They are short, thought provoking, and are filled with good Biblical principles that I can apply to my life. But I have noticed that instead of going and reading the Bible for myself to see what God has to show me, I will scrolll through Youtube and find a John Piper message that I feel like applies to me for that day. 

Going to church and listening to sermons is a good thing, but when you start to depend on the preacher to be your only line of communication between you and God, it isn’t so much a good thing anymore.

Whenever I tell people about Jesus, I want to speak of him like my grandma does with the pictures on her piano. I want to have a genuine care and relationship. A first hand account of my relationship with Him, not John Piper’s relationship with Him, or my pastor’s relationship with him, or even what a devotional says about my relationship with Him. I want a first hand account, personal relationship with Him. 

Psalm 119:103 “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

Yes, reading daily devotions, listening to sermons, reading clever christian quotes can be a good thing. They can feed my spiritual life and sustain me. But in comparison for actually reading and studying the Bible for myself, those are just the crumbs. I don’t want to live off of the crumbs from the Bread of Life!

John 6:35 “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

So whenever I tell an unbeliever about Jesus Christ, I want them to hear it in my voice that I know Him. Not just second-hand stories, but personally know Him like my grandma knew the people in the pictures on her piano. Why settle for just the crumbs when I can open up the Bible and read what God has to say to me for the day:) 

When Sin Slithers In 

The past two weeks have been a struggle for me. I have struggled with a sin that I did not see coming. It has made me ask questions about sin that I never thought before. 

I asked God to take away my attraction to this sin, and to help me resist it. But in my mind Satan began to plant seeds of pride and start to convince me that because God made me and knew what I was and wasn’t attracted to, that my sin was somehow justified. 

But that is a lie. It wasn’t my attraction that was a sin, but my sin itself that is a sin (that should’ve been obvious to me 😉

An attractive guy can walk past and I won’t think twice about him. Thats not wrong. But if an attractive guy walks past me and I give into lustful thoughts, that is when it becomes a sin. 

Mark 7:14-15 “And he called the people to him again and said to them,“Hear me, all of you, and understand:There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”

And honestly, this spiritual battle came out of nowhere. I didn’t see it coming. One day I was close and in tune with God, and the next I felt distant and disinterested.

1 Peter 4:12 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”

1 Peter 5:8 says the devil walks around like a roaring lion seeking to devour. 

If I seen a lion roaring and eating everything in it’s path I would’ve ran. Fast. But sometimes, Satan doesn’t come in the form of a lion but a snake. He lurks by without you even knowing. He slithers into the shadows waiting to strike. And when he does, it takes a toll. It makes me disinterested, calloused, and has lasting effects.  

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Even once I repented and have been forgiven he makes me feel unworthy to minister, write, laugh, pray, and read. Sin leaves behind a bitter feeling of shame. And shame is different than guilt…

Shelia Walsh said, “Guilt tells you you’ve done something wrong. Shame tells you you are something wrong.”

Romans 5:3-5 

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 

 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s lovehas been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.


When my husband first told me this verse I kind of blew him off.. Im not suffering… Im struggling with sin.

But the Greek for this word makes it alot more clear.. It also means burdened and anguish. 

Maybe it does apply to me after all…. 

This all works together to produce hope. And in hope we are not put to shame. So next time sin slithers into my life, I can know my temptations and battles can lead me to hope and that I don’t have to have shame because of God’s love that was poured out on the cross.

Here is a link to a message by Shelia Walsh about shame. It helped me alot and I hope it does you as well!

I Was Angry At God, For Being God.

This morning I got up and typed a blog post about who God is. About how Christians only focus on a couple of God’s attributes. How we don’t truly know who God is.
I really felt God moving me to write that post. He was working on my heart as I typed and I couldn’t wait to get to the library later and post it (I don’t have wifi at my house so I have to go to the library to upload).

A couple hours later I was there and went to upload my blog when my computer had crashed. It has been struggling for a year now and I knew I really needed a new one but I just kept putting it off. Long story short, my blog post I was so excited about had disappeared into cyber-space, never to return. I tried everything to retrieve the file but it was corrupted.

I left the library very frustrated and very angry. I was angry at God. The very same God I had written about that morning, I was now angry at and hurt by.
Why would He give me something to write about that morning and put it on my heart to share with others, if I wasn’t going to be able to upload it anyways? Why even put having this blog on my heart when I can’t even upload a blog post?

I began to doubt His love for me and to question Him. He is God, He could fix my computer and retrieve the file if He really wanted to, right? He could have allowed my computer to last just a few more hours and it would have been okay.
I started to ask Him if it was because I wasn’t good enough. If it was because I was being prideful or trying to do it for my own glory. Maybe deep down inside I had some sin that I hadn’t repented of or I had an idol in my life. Maybe that was His punishment on me.
I was so angry and hurt. Maybe you are reading this and thinking “It was just a blog post, just chill out?” Which is true, there are more important things to get upset over than a stupid blog. But I think it was the fact that here I was, trying to serve God, trying to do what He was laying on my heart to do, and He wasn’t allowing me to.

How dare He.

Thinking over the post that I had written this morning, I was talking about how there are attributes of God that we don’t ever talk about. He is just and loving (which is normally what most Christians focus on). But He is also patient, merciful, omnipresent, He isn’t contained by time or space. He is gracious, all-knowing, transcendent, immanent, infinite, immutable, good, truthful, and righteous.

He is 100% just, 100% loving, 100% merciful, 100% gracious, 100% truthful, 100% righteous simultaneously 100% of the time.

One thing I learned today is that He is all of those things,… yet He is also God.
This morning I had forgotten His most important attribute of all…

HE IS GOD.

I think I forgot that today. Yes, He could have fixed my computer and retrieved that corrupted file and allowed me to upload that post and everything would’ve gone according to my plan. But He had other plans. Did I accept them like I should have? Absolutely not. I am ashamed that I got angry at God. That I doubted Him. But that is where grace steps in. (Remember? God is gracious) I have repented and I am forgiven.

Maybe there is something in your life that has happened and you are angry at God over. A bad health report, a family member passed away, you lost a job or job opportunity. The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly why God allows those things to happen to us. That is not for us to know. But it does say that He has our best interest in mind.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

I don’t know why my computer crashed today. But I do know that I learned through it. I know more about what God is like now than I did before writing about it this morning. He is God! He truly is transcendent. Above our knowledge and understanding.

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

Don’t forget that God is God. The one God. The true God. The only God. My God.

I Was Robbed

Tonight when I got home from church I discovered that I had been robbed. 

Not physically like my house or bank account. But even more importantly, I had been robbed spiritually. 

I have robbed myself of the joy I should have in salvation. I get so caught up in what I’m not that I completely forget what I am as a Christian.  

I have heard it been said that comparison is the theif of joy. And man can I testify to that. 

Galations 1:10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Whenever I get on Instagram or Facebook and Pinterest I see all the places my friends are going. I see how many likes and views other bloggers get on their post. I lust after things that I can’t afford. I want to be satisfied and happy just like these other people I see are. 

I get so enveloped in what others have that don’t see that I have made them idols. These things become idols to me because I put their significance in my life over God’s.

Maybe for you it isn’t money or likes. Maybe it is talents and gifts. 

I love to sing. And I have an okay voice, it sounds decent. Whenever I hear another person who has an incredible voice get up and sing I get jealous and even bitter towards them and myself. I compare my voice to theirs and place my self worth in what I can do. 

Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from selfish ambition of conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

And it all roots from pride. My pride looks at others and says “I need to be as good and even better than they are, I need to be the best”. Which leads to comparison. Which leads to depression because I can’t measure up to another person because I am not them and that is not who God made me to be. 

Pride and comparison also leads to self-hate. 

I am a quiet person in general. Especially in public. To a lot of people I seem boring, and too quiet. Being a people person is always something I have struggled with. 

Whenever I start to compare myself to people I know who are sociable and fun to talk to and are just naturally good at making conversation. I start to hate myself for not being like them. I want to build walls between myself and other people. If I don’t like myself how can others?  

Comparison has robbed me of what I have as a child of God. 

God placed me in the exact spot I am in now for a reason. For a purpose that He  wants me to fulfill! 

He made me with an okay voice probably because He knew if I had a heavenly one I would be full of myself. 

He gave me my very own personality that is composed of all the different parts of my life and has made me what I am today.

He has blessed me with a job to make money and a house to live in. He gave me a wonderful husband who daily demonstrates to me God’s love and grace. 

He sent His only son to die for me. He still comes down and wraps Himself around me despite my filthy hands and my disgusting sins. 

I haved robbed myself the past few years. I stole away my joy and my peace of mind. I replaced it with things that the world duplicates as joy. But it was short lived and unstable because it depended on me. To have joy I can’t depend on myself. I have to depend on the one who is independent. 

1 Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Whenever you become uncontent with your life you don’t gain anything. You only steal away the joy you could have and the peace of mind you have as a child of God. Don’t rob yourself!!! Take it from an expert theif who has broken into my heart and robbed myself of joy and contentment by comparing myself to others. 

When God Remains Silent

When God Is Silent
Psalm 83:1 “O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God!”

Lately it seems every time I sit down to write a devotional, or I try to have time with God I ended up leaving discouraged. How can I help others and share to them what God has been working on me about, when God has been silent? Do you ever pray sometimes and feel like your prayers just bounce right back to you? It is really discouraging and depressing.

Whenever I reach out to God and my hands come back empty, I want to give up and forget about it. I want to find fulfillment in something else that is for certain going to bring me satisfaction. Whenever I leave empty handed I begin to doubt God. I begin to doubt His love for me. Like maybe I am not good enough right now for Him to speak to me or work on my heart. I start to get the mindset that I can somehow earn His attention.
Whenever God becomes silent He always seems to pick the worst times. Lately, we have been looking for a house, I have prayed and prayed and asked God to show us where He wants us to be, to give us confirmation somehow about what decision to make. Yet He remains quiet.

“…..do not hold your peace or be still, O God!” If there is something I need right now, it is peace from God. Because all I feel lately is stress and self-doubt.
Why would God remain silent when I am reaching and grasping and begging for His presence? When I desperately feel like I need Him now more than ever?

Matthew 7:7 says “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

That verse is a promise right? Then why don’t I feel like I’m finding anything? Why do I come back empty handed.
This is how I have felt for the past week and a half. Maybe, you have felt the same way. But what if every time I wanted to hear something from God, I did? What if every time I started seeking Him, I found Him. Just like that. Would I have any faith? Would I still put forth effort every day to show God that I earnestly want to know Him more? Or would I only seek Him when I felt like I needed Him, when He became my last option.

I learned today that Matthew 7:7 is a promise. If I seek Him, I will find Him. But it might not be in the time I would like for it to be. I might have to keep my hand reached out longer than I wish or than I feel comfortable doing. I might have to search and search and come up empty handed and discouraged. But in His timing, He will show Himself and the reunion will be that much more satisfying. How can I know the worth of what I find unless I search for it? The most expensive, valuable, and beautiful jewels are the ones that take effort and time to discover. They are hard to find.

When God remains silent it might be for a day, a week, two weeks, a month… maybe years. Whether it is a prayer request or just a daily study. But don’t lose faith. If you seek Him you will find Him. That is a promise from God Almighty! It can be discouraging coming back empty handed, I know. The past week I have been in the depths of despair because I keep coming back empty from my quiet time with God. But I know that I will find Him, because He loves me and you enough to make Himself accsessible to us through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

So next time God remains silent don’t lose faith. In fact, have more faith because you know that you will find. And don’t go looking elsewhere for something to fill that place where God is suppose to be. The pleasures of this world are quick, easy, and will quickly fade away. But what God gives you is everlasting, and fulfilling. It just might take some time and faith while God remains silent, but when He does speak it will be sweeter and more fulfilling than ever before.

Letting God Dig Out My Splinters

Last week my church had revival and it was really great! We had people saved, and some rededicate their life to the Lord. As with most revivals, each night there was an altar call to give everyone who was there an oppurtunity to humbly pray to God, repent, ask for forgivness, etc… One of the things about true revival is that it doesn’t feel good. In fact, it can be really uncomfortable. For saved people, it can mean repenting of sins and asking for forgiveness of sins. It is a season of restoration.

I’m still studying Hosea using Jennifer Rothschild’s study guide (I had gotten way behind but I’m catching up!). One passage from Hosea really stuck out to me while studying.

Hosea Chapter 6:1-3 (ESV)

“Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us like showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”

This passage in Hosea is talking about Israel and Judah being unrepentant. Hosea is prophesing to the people, telling them that there can be restoration. Revival! A part of the revival process is God correcting us. This past week God laid things on my heart that I knew I needed to change and it didn’t feel good. But just because I went to the altar, asked for forgiveness, and prayed about it doesn’t make it revival. Revival is a process. Like Pastor Henry said “Revival isn’t a series of messages.” Which is so true! In the verses above revival was God tearing down Israel and Judah so He can build them up. God has to knock down my pride to help me grow. He has to show me I can’t depend on myself so I can start depending on Him.

For me, last week wasn’t just a revival but it has been the start of revival. It was a time when God showed me that I was in need of Him, the ways I had gone astray, and He said Let’s begin! But it doesn’t feel good. This week I have caught myself being mean and irritable. Why? Because God has been showing me things about myself that I don’t want to deal with. He has torn me. But He is also healing me.

Whenever you get a splinter what do you do? Unless you want it to get infected and swell up, you have to dig it out. And it hurts! Especially if someone else is doing it for you. I always wanted to be in control of getting the splinters out of my fingers so whenever it started hurting, I could stop. Revival is the same way. It hurts to dig out my sin and bring it to the light, especially when God is the one doing it! It is easier to just ignore our sin, but if we do it will swell up and affect us more than we thought it would.

“Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord…” To have revival you have to keep on keeping on. Be steadfast! When revival week for my church ended, it shouldn’t be the end of my personal revival. That week was a jumpstart. A call from God saying “I’m ready, whenever you are willing!”. Like I have said about 4 times already, Revival is a process. And it has it’s rewards too “…he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” That’s a promise!

I don’t know what revival may mean to you. It could be repenting, forgiving, letting go, making commitments, being honest, etc… only you and God know that. But remember, don’t stop your revival at the altar. Like verse 6 says in this same passage, He desires steadfast love, and that is exactly what it takes to be revived! Steadfast in our love for Him that we press on through the judgement and allow God to dig out our splinters so He can start to heal us.

 

When God’s Good Isn’t Good Enough For Me

Today I asked myself this question, would I give up anything to learn more about God? He is so great and unfathomable, but I find myself being comfortable with what I already know about Him. If I truly could wrap my mind around how great He is, wouldn’t I give up anything just to know Him more?

If that is true, then I don’t even have a glimpse of how great He is.

A lot of times, whenever I read my Bible, I realize I do it so I won’t feel guilty about it later. Or so I can study and then get on with my day. I don’t study to truly get to know God more. And lately I have been in such a rut. I feel stuck. I’m not growing in my relationship with God, but it doesn’t feel like I’m backsliding… I’ve heard people say that everyday that you aren’t closer to God than the last, then you are backslidden.

I wonder how many Christians are like me? Imagine what a spiritual difference it would make if we started seeking after Him like we are capable of?

Whenever I hear Romans 1:25 “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” I always think of hippies. (Am I the only one who does that ? :P) But honestly, that verse is talking about me as much as it is about hippies! Whenever I put the opinions of my friends, my family, my husband, whenever I put time with my phone, my cats, or books over God, then I worship the creation more than the Creator.

Last night was my church’s first night of revival, and my husband preached about hell. He brought up how they tortured and crucified Christ. I’ve heard the story and seen the illustrations a hundred times. But just like my husband said, I had become numb to just what Jesus had went through. To just how great the sacrifice was.

But this morning I woke up and realized that Jesus didn’t just go through crucifixion to save us from our sin. But He also went through it so we will be able to get to know God on an intimate level. But just how many people actually do that?

How many Christians take for granted the ability we have to get to know God? If I truly could even get a glimpse of how great God is, I would like to think that I would give up anything for Him. But honestly, I know the greatest act of love God ever committed (sacrificing His son) and I still push Him aside for my own wants and needs.

God is omniscient. He knew that when He sacrificed Jesus that we (as Christians) would still reject Him to go after our own wants.

For me, knowing that even though I don’t try to get to know Him more than I do now, and yet He still died for me, makes me want to know Him more. But I guess He knows that too (Was that confusing enough? haha).

There is a song that I absolutely love. Every time I listen to it, I get chills. More than once I have had to pull off the road while listening to this song just so I can pray to God.

“What Do I Know Of Holy” by Addison Road.

Here are some lyrics that I think perfectly explain how I feel;

“I guess I thought that I had figured You out, I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about, How You were mighty to save, Those were only empty words on a page, Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be, The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees.”

Deuteronomy 8:14 “Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.”

It looks like I am not the only one who has forgotten God in the midst of all His blessings in my life.

Isaiah 43:22-25 “But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel.”

Verses 23 and 24 go on to talk about how they stopped making offerings to God and sacrifices.

Then verse 25 says “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”

Even though the chosen people stopped giving God the glory He deserved, he still covered up their transgressions.

Isaiah 44:22 “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.”

Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”

I don’t want to get a glimpse of God and then be content with it until the next time I feel like I want more of Him. I want to consistently seek after Him for the right reasons. I don’t want the good that God has given me to take place of His goodness. I don’t want to be complacent! I know that I am capable of knowing God more than I can fathom on this side of Heaven. So I don’t want Christ’s sacrifice to be in vain. I don’t want to just be saved but I also want to seek Him. If you are like me and just do what you are suppose to as a Christian to “get by”. Then we are both missing out on not only blessings from God, but more importantly, God himself.

 

My Struggle With Being A Hypocrite

When God put it on my heart to start this blog. I doubted Him. Why would He ask me to write about living for Him and being set apart?  It feels so hypocritical sometimes as I post a devotional. When I write about being godly and how its okay to live a Christian lifestyle, I’m reminded how I used to watch wordly tv shows and laugh at things I shouldn’t around my friends. I think about how some of my family members might read my post and think I’m a hypocrite for the words I type. A lot of times Satan will creep inside and remind me of my sin and just how insufficient I am. It can be really depressing! I’m sure if you’re saved that you have felt the same.

Recently I have been studying the book of Hosea. Hosea was a prophet of God in the Old Testament. God told him to go and marry a prostitute named Gomer (That poor girl… what a terrible name!).

God told Hosea to do that to show Israel that they didn’t deserve God’s love. They couldn’t do anything so dirty that He wouldn’t love them. Because He chose to love them. Hosea chose to love Gomer, not because she deserved it. But because he chose to! I can imagine that Gomer felt very hypocritical at times,  especially if she changed from her old way of life. Why would Hosea choose her after everything she had done? Wouldn’t others see her as a hypocrite? I’m sure some did, there’s always going to be those to see only the bad. But Hosea didn’t.

Thankfully,  because of the blood of Christ, God looks at me and see’s the good, the potential. And it’s the same with you.

Even though there will be times that me and you will fail, and slip back into sin; Remember that God sees our hearts, our intentions and our struggles. But the world sees our works, our words, and our actions.

Romans 6:6 “Knowing this,  that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed,  that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

Romans 6:12-13 “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive, from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”

Sometimes I do feel hypocritical. Just know that I write for myself to be encouraged and edified, just as much as I do for others. I’m thankful I’m able to see the things I can work on, not only so I can become a better witness, but also because it shows me that even though I mess up, God still chooses to love me.