Frustration against other Christians.

The title of this blog may already sound self-righteous to some and maybe to an extent there is a hint of some self-righteousness, but let me explain my heart. When I get mad at other Christians who knowingly and willingly and carelessly give into sin and act like it’s “no big deal”, that concerns me. Yes, let’s examine the plank in my eye. I know I have sin and my sin is a constant battle, but it bothers me. It saddens my heart to know how sinful I am and when I learn from my mistakes… I make them again. I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite right now because like I said, my heart is not there and I’m not judging these other Christians… but my heart breaks for them. 

My favorite verse of all time is James 1:22-25Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”

We remember that we’re Christians at church on Sundays, at Bible studies throughout the week, around Christian friends, or even family members. That light switch can be easily be turned off when we fit God in a box and only use Him as needed, especially in certain crisis’. Our faith needs to speak for itself… James 2:14-18 says “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

It goes back to the James 1 Scripture I gave, we deceive ourselves so easily. Sadly, I don’t think some Christians realize they are being deceived and that this deception comes from Satan. The fact they have no clue either shows a hardened heart or they’ve given into the lie that God is satisfied with their sin, therefore abusing His grace. Satan likes it when we pat ourselves on the back after feeling convicted at church, but where’s the action accompanied by that conviction? 

Sin always comes back as a reflection of a SELFISH heart. We act like we’red owed something when in fact we’re owed NOTHING. God doesn’t need to give or do anything for you. Pardon my language, but if you’re a little butt-hurt because something doesn’t go your way… get over yourself. God is working at something deeper in your heart and life and if you can’t face that, you need to realize you are better with God than without Him. We act like such babies sometimes. 

I just needed to vent because a simple Facebook status would not suffice… plus I feel that here I have a larger audience who cares for my opinion on these things. Am I the only one who gets frustrated at this stuff? Let me reiterate the fact I know I am just as messed up, we all need accountability. I’m not saying I’m a better person or Christian because my works mean nothing to Jesus – He paid it all on the cross and I cannot add to that or earn it. 

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Not so bold and unashamed of the Gospel.

A lot of Christians, including myself, like to quote Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” We wholeheartedly believe this and this may be true for us to a certain extent, but we have to remember who these words were coming from at the time. Paul, the author of Romans and of many books in the Bible proclaimed the Gospel in a hostile time. To be baptized and to say Jesus was God was a one way ticket to prison or execution. Living in America we can’t quite grasp the severity of proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Savior because there is no persecution other than being told we’re bigoted and judgmental. Paul writes these words while he is in prison, believed to have been waist high in human waste. The state of his living was not good, but this man meant his words. He lived these words out, hence the horrible conditions he was in.

My pastor this morning emphasized the importance of the Gospel, the Word of God, it has power. It saves and changes lives and it is by hearing the Word that people open their eyes to the reality of their sin. Wearing crosses whether tattooed or by jewelry, going to church, or wearing t-shirts that say we “<3 God” doesn’t hold any power like the Word can. People need to hear the Word of God, Jesus was the Word and we think just by living for God that people can read us. Yes, we are a light separated from this dark world, but because we are the light we need to shine truth on God’s Word. People are in darkness and on their way to hell because we’re too afraid to speak up. We want the approval of man to the point we neglect Jesus’s lasts words and mission to go make more disciples. Will we offend people? Yes. Will we annoy them? Yes. Will we push certain people away from us? Yes. Could we lose our friends? Yes. The things that will happen to us on this earth don’t even compare to what these people will suffer for eternity – separation from God.

Francis Chan’s book Multiply touches base with the fact that Christians will walk away from church services with conviction and almost pat themselves on the back for feeling bad. It’s like that’s what we’re looking for, when we leave church are we moved with emotion? It seems like that’s our only goal. We should be moved to action, we should be out there getting our hands dirty. Satan has us where he wants us, complacent Christians who feel conviction, but do nothing about it. We’re not a threat to Satan. I don’t know about you, but when I get up in the morning I want Satan to be like “Oh no, there’s that woman of God!” I want him to feel threatened.

With my uncle being laid up in ICU after heart surgery, practically on his death bed, my dad has raised hands held high in prayer over my uncle. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but this was in front of working nurses, people who are trying to help on my uncle get back to health. I have been so moved by my father’s faith and him being unashamed in public prayer. I feel so ashamed of myself, Jesus is risen and I’m afraid to proclaim that to people? Do I read my Bible every day and pray? Yes. To the world’s standards my walk with God is good, but I know that is far from the truth. I need to trust in Jesus despite my circumstances and walk out in faith knowing that His Word, when preached, will not return void.

We all have seasons Jesus needs to walk us through and I’m not telling you to look for sin, but if you’ve been complacent… ask the Lord to challenge you and break you of the things you’re putting your trust in.

^^ Please take the time to watch this video by Kari Jobe called “Forever”. It is such a beautiful song! So much truth.

Hey girl, there’s freedom in Christ.

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I thought I’d share my Facebook status with you this morning since it’s a bit lengthy and blog worthy haha… I hope this encourages someone today.

Sometimes being realistic about things makes you cynical. As a Christian woman I want to focus on the truth or ‘what’s really real’ because there’s a ‘justice’ there. While trying to look through this lens of ‘truth’ I tend to ignore the lens of grace, God’s grace. His grace is sufficient in ALL things and in ALL people.

I don’t even know if this makes any sense, but I woke up this morning with a hateful attitude and I didn’t feel like keeping that attitude with me all day… so I took time to pray. It’s SOOOO easy to stare at someone else’s sin and ignore our own. Judging people by our own scale of righteousness only condemns us, not them.

I think this post is more towards women this morning and me just wanting to encourage you that your opinions of something or someone is NOT worth it if it makes you a prisoner to being miserable. Before I was saved, if I got mad about something I took pride in being a B word. In fact, I’d call myself that quite often because I felt empowered not to deal with anyone’s crap. However… we’re kidding ourselves because the B word mentality is just us building up a wall to not get hurt by anyone in this world. The thing is we do care about things more than we’ll admit to. We have a lot of emotions and quite frankly don’t know the first thing about handling them. Whether you’re a Christian or not, I just want to remind you there is FREEDOM in Christ. He takes those thoughts we don’t know what to do with and renews them so we can see things from God’s perspective. When we look through the lenses of grace and love, we’re not defeated or weakened, we’re doing the hard thing that NO ONE wants to do.

Seriously, we’ve all been here and maybe some of us are here today.

Christians who can’t be bothered.

There are seasons for everything and apparently in this season of my life, I’m not meant to have any actual friends. I won’t mention any names here, but I just had a girl who I tried to disciple and be friends with, delete me recently. I was like “Wha…?” I didn’t do anything and besides being confused, I was a bit p’d off. People have seriously taught me one important lesson and that’s that they come and go. Being now 24-years-old and married, friends are hard to come by these days. My interaction with people is rare unless someone new comes to church. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for a quantity of friends, just quality ones, but right now I have 0 friends I hang out with. The few people I actually get along with live out-of-state, so it’s not like I  can hang out with them. I do my fair share of asking people “Want to go do this?!” and that’s when I start getting excuses or flat-out ignored.

I’m just wondering when did Christians or supposed ‘Christians’ start closing themselves off and decided their ‘comfort zone’ was their best place to stay? What makes me mad is people who find a group of friends they grow comfortable with and then ignore the world around them. I’ve seen this in churches and it’s not cute and definitely not Christ-like. Churches are either divided or they don’t make contact with the other members. If I sound cynical, it’s because I am. I realize I need to get off my high-horse because I have sin too… but if we’re doing something that completely negates the Gospel, like not practicing discipleship… what are we doing with our Christian lives?!

Complacency is not something that the Lord honors. You can pat yourself on the back all day long about how much you’ve grown in the Lord, but if you’re not actually passing that onto other people and LOVING them… then you might be that noisy gong the Bible speaks of in 1 Corinthians 13:1 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” (NIV)

Like I was telling my sister tonight, some people’s sin annoys me. The church should be about unity, breaking bread. I could easily blame the world and say “Oh technology makes things less personal and people are more closed-off because of it…” But sin takes a deeper root, it’s in the hearts. Technology is just a distraction or wall built up to be passive about our sin. Seriously, when is the last time you looked at your heart? Or are you too busy checking Facebook to know?

 

Feeling lonely

I’m writing a blog from my phone for the first time, so I hope I don’t have too many typos. Darn auto-correct, you come in handy when I’m lazy, but boy do you know how to butcher a serious sentence, haha.

I’ve been trying to think of ways to get involved with a community of believers because at our current church me and my husband are the 20 some year olds there. The majority is either under 10 years old or 50+. Sure, we can visit a church for their young adult ministry, but I’m not looking to get lost in the crowd. It seems like that’s the case for most churches today and how we’ve got in the habit of keeping to ourselves.

I can guarantee this is just a season God is trying to walk me through, but I go back to getting frustrated and tired of waiting this out. I get I should learn contentment and I have for the most part… it’s still a struggle though.

Jefferson Bethke tweeted Timothy Keller the other day and asked him what one piece of advice he could give our generation:

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So maybe I’m not crazy? I’ve debated asking if the young ladies I tried to meet up with before would like to give our study another try… but with a different attempt. Sometimes things don’t go the way you plan and you have to work your way around that. I’ve got to learn that it’s okay if something doesn’t go by the book. I’ve had to learn that through teaching the children and youth at our church.

If anyone can comment below on how they got their church groups to get together and how they worked through schedules, please let me know. I need all the advice I can get.

Stress and trusting in God.

Pray More

I talked to my sister not long ago about this and how we say we have faith, but our attitudes express otherwise. You can pray every day, read your Bible, and say “Yes Jesus, I trust Your will for my life!” but then when you come back to reality you start snapping at people. Whenever I start being mean and having an ‘attitude’ it’s because I’m stressed out and worried about a million things. It’s like being in a constant state of being ‘unnerved’. At this point of my mindset, my faith is circumstantial because if something rubs me the wrong way I’m going to fly off my wagon (whatever that means LOL! – I was born in a country household).

I will admit I can be a bit OCD about things, if even one or two things are out-of-place in the house, I need to clean them, right then, right now. The same thing applies when I have a to-do list. In the next few weeks I have so much stuff going on and all I can think of “Is everything going to be okay?” I get anxious about it. I think where I’m trying to get healthy, now adding a bunch of dental work on top of that, and now doing a million things at my church, I feel overwhelmed. If I’m being honest, my stress, although it’s a sin in and of itself, turns into an even bigger sin. I start nitpicking at things and I’m not content. I have to constantly apologize for things, just ask my husband and he will tell you. I don’t like being like that and I don’t know about you, but I feel alone when things start piling up. That I need to ‘carry this burden’. I can’t expect anyone else to help. I’m so quick to do my freak out dance that I forget I have God who helps me carry those burdens. I’m not meant to do it on my own. I also need to realize that I need to go to my husband more often because when I told him the things laying on my heart yesterday I just wept on his shoulder. He reassured me everything was going to be okay and I believed him. God’s Word reassures us that everything is going to be okay too and we need to believe that as well. We need to take God’s Word for face value.

No wonder some of us have anxiety, we try handling things that are out of our control. I caught myself yesterday just needing to take a break and breathe. I could feel my chest getting tightened up it was that bad. I wonder how many times I’m going to have to learn this lesson from God. Trust me girlfriend or you guys out there, when you think you’ve got your walk with God under control and you have it down to a T, you don’t. Our faith can be shaken, but let’s not be moved. At the end of the day, all we have is the Savior. When everything falls apart, when everyone fails you, God will still be on His throne in His perfect righteousness. We have to stop looking down and at our situations and look up – our hope should be in heaven. If you feel like you’re playing ‘catch up’ in life, you’re not the only one. I’m there too and I feel like I’m always behind in this world that is always moving forward.

It just dawned on me now that when I had told my sister I had been stressing, she reminded me my worth was in Christ. I thought to myself at the time… “Okay, well what does that have to do with stress?” It has everything to do with it, because the things we stress out about is the things we usually find our worth or value in. We find success in these things going well, whether it’s a relationship or job, we worry about the status – where is it going? We go back to being circumstantial. If you lose your job, if they cut your hours back, if your relationship is failing, if you have no friends, if you don’t know what you want to do with your life, it’s okay. You know why? Because our worth isn’t in those things. Those things change. I’m preaching to myself here and I’m crying as I type this because I always need to be reminded of these truths.

If you need prayer for anything, please comment below. I will leave this blog with a prayer that whoever reads this will find hope again if that’s what you needed today. May God bless you for His glory and remember to trust in Him.

Learning to be content while single

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I feel like I could go on and on about this topic because people between the ages of 16-30 think if they’re not in a serious relationship or married in their early years, they’re going to die alone. I get that people experience loneliness, trust me, I’ve been there. However, if you’ve been single for a certain period of time, instead of complaining, learn to be content in this season of your life. There’s a time and place for everything and nothing ever seems to satisfy us unless we “have it now!”.

Especially speaking to my Christians out there, why do you ignore the promises of God in Philippians 4:12-13, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” And what about Philippians 2:14 “Do all things without complaining…”? The best thing about our relationship with God is leaning on His strength and His Spirit to live the life we could not live in our own efforts. Our flesh constantly opposes the things of God, we seek to live for ourselves. We lean on our understanding of things when yet again Scripture says… Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Don’t trust your heart (because it’s your flesh) and don’t trust your circumstances (because they constantly change), trust in God.

It makes sense that if you were in need and someone offered you help, you would take it right? If you sat there crying and complaining the entire time and ignored that help, of course you’re going to feel miserable. In fact, you look flat-out silly. God offers us help, but if we reject that then we won’t experience that contentment His Spirit has to offer. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” – Galatians 5:22. If we pray and we ask in faith for peace and patience, do you not think God will give it to you? Galatians 2:20 says we’ve been crucified with Christ and it’s His Spirit that lives in us. We have the Holy Spirit. Do you realize the implications of what that means? Seriously, take a minute to fathom the fact that God chooses to dwell in you as His holy temple. We miss so many opportunities in life to grow and gain wisdom because we grumble through our storms until things get better and we’re ‘happy’ again.

Do you realize what that’s saying about us? About you? That your happiness is circumstantial. “I’ll be happy if I have…. this!” What about when you have that first argument? What about when that person lets you down? Your walk with God should be your strong foundation for everything, even down to the worry you have in an actual relationship wondering if he/she is cheating on you or lusting after others. I was reading in the book of John today and Jesus was telling the Pharisees that He had the power to lay down His own life and take it up again. If our God can conquer death, why do we doubt that He can give us joy? Why do we doubt that He won’t provide for us? Maybe your faith needs some growing. Maybe you need to be reminded how powerful our God is because the last time I checked, He can do anything. Don’t limit God to earthly things.

Pray for contentment. Pray to have a bigger faith. Be honest with God. You can’t expect the desire to come upon you one morning, we need to be intentional about our walk with God.