My God is not a God of halfway doing things. Philippians 1:6 reminds me that He who began the good work in me will bring it into completion. Therefore, in the midst of my fatigue, my nearness to losing joy & peace and just giving up, I will be encouraged of who He is and keep pushing through. He is not a God of partiality, doing things half heartedly. He finishes what He started and He finishes it well. My heart rejoices in the knowledge of this - He remains faithful even when I am faithless, dwelling in me and interceding on my behalf even through wordless groans. In and through it all, I can only say: thank You for relentlessly pursuing me even when I never deserve to be chased after.
Have you ever felt like you’re doing less in comparison with those other Jesus loving peeps, especially the ones surrounding you?
In these recent weeks, I’ve witnessed and received updates from my friends of the breakthroughs in their lives, the kind you would “Wow!” over and quantify as major God moments. My heart, being fickle began to whine, “God, I want a breakthrough in my daily circumstances, the ones that will draw others to You, the ones that people will “Wow!” and get goose bumps. I want a miraculous revelation from You.” And Daddy God, being the all loving, faithful God that He is, in the midst of my faithlessness gently corrected me, revealing His love for me “Hey, don’t quantify what qualifies. My ways are higher than your ways, My thoughts higher than your thoughts. You have grown familiarized, too comfortable in My Love for you that you begin to overlook where I have placed you right now, the season you’re in, the daily struggles you face- they are all a part of my Grace and you regard it as mundane ” The issue remains the same – the heart, my heart.
Firstly, I was stuck in the comparison trap. Competition can sometimes be healthy, but comparison? It robs you off His joy, His peace. Continually entertaining comparison will steal God’s destiny for your life- because instead of focusing on where God has placed you for such a time as this and watering your seed, being faithful in the different seasons He has placed us in, we begin to focus on things, on people and entirely miss the point. God is working inside of you and me, setting us free from living in somebody else’s season. When I see others’ lives, I only tend to see how high the tree goes without seeing how deep the roots are planted. I only see the fruit that somebody has without seeing the fight they went through to get it. Remember, God loves all of us equally but differently. Everyone has a different story, a different journey. Don’t lose joy and peace over trivial matters. 1 Corinthians 12:12 solidifies me, reminding me that there are many functions in the body of Christ and to try compare and live up to them will steal the life out of me.
Secondly, I was reminded that the sensational sexy someday mentality, the lust of future comfort is the greatest thief of life. Have you ever viewed an uncomfortable situation in your life and your reflexes are “God, I want my breakthrough. Someday.” “When will I be qualified enough to do this God? Someday.” Without us realizing, you’re letting self- pity get the better of you. Consider this, how many times have you missed heaven sent moments because you failed to shift you lenses to what He has done or what He is doing in your life? You don’t have to change what you see, only the way you see, this is how you practice the presence of God. Hope is not deferred into the future- You are standing on it, right here, right now. When you get discontented in your season, thinking it is unbearable and won’t bear fruits- you are missing your turn, the joy and the peace that was specially prepared for you in this particular season.
Understand that all time is God’s time, not only “God moments”: Every moment has the potential to be a God moment if you want to find God in the moment. Galatians 6:9 explains that life is mostly sowing, not reaping. The breakthrough already happened when Jesus broke through the grave to rescue you. Now, every day of your life, you have the freedom to be faithful. At the end of the day, God graces whom He graces, He elevates whom He elevates, but you have control over your faithfulness. Keep sowing seeds. Decisions are seeds. Attitudes are seeds. Acts are seeds. Prayers are seeds. Thoughts are seeds. And all of it will come to harvest in His due time. The harvest will come, it is inevitable, but growth is invisible. Learn to recognize the God moments. So many times, we tend to miss the miraculous because its dressed like the mundane. We miss the miraculous because it’s dressed like the mundane. We miss the “God” moments, the “Wow” moments when we despise the mundane.
Lastly, I encourage all of you to examine your desires, your obsessions, your priorities. Because sometimes good things can become bad things when they are not in its rightful place and order. I was obsessed with the idea of being used by God for His glory. However, the main point was ME being used by God. Not me used by God for HIS GLORY. Do you get what I am trying to convey? I want to be a part of the “kingdom work” when I am already a part of it. He has chosen me, and called me and set me apart. However, I can’t do enough, I’m not doing enough. This is how prideful I am when actually God loves me so much but I don’t live that way. I live to please, to maintain an image. But the truth is, He is my freedom. And He loves me so much. He accepts me and calls me His own. I am His beloved.
To receive Grace is to rest on it.
I have been writing a lot these days, not because all has been smooth sailing but because His love broke through my cynicism, doubts, fear - basically shaping the posture of my heart from hardened (Hebrews 4:7) to rested as He anchors me in His goodness and lifts me to higher ground.
Through this journey, I have come to the realization that at times, I simply need to take the faith plunge, to forsake my fear of heights, allowing Him to carry me on His shoulders onto a higher point of view where things fall into perspective, where even though it’s blurry and not necessarily a HD view, He adjusts my vision to see the beauty of it as a whole, realigning my focus, my spiritual eyes, convincing me again and again that He is in control despite what the ‘zoomed in’ circumstances tell me otherwise -He uses the bad things for good.
In order to fully rest in His grace, I need to learn to lay everything down at His feet and leave it there… and not take it up and pretend to be in control again. With love in His eyes, as I soar on His back and gasp in awestruck wonder, He tells me, “Do you know I love you this much, allowing you to go through mountains, yes, even the steep ones you’re in so that I could show you My Glory, this higher ground - the place of rest where from it you can see and do life through My view? Experience the riches of My salvation: the joy of being loved constantly and perfectly. Quit striving. Unclench your fears :).”
All the imperfections of my current reality are wiped out in response to Him as I enter the ultimate reality, His reality – the one where I see Him with new eyes, where worshipful thanks fill me. Yes, the everyday stuff is real, still present, but there is something more powerful, more eternal. I know that God is faithful. I know that He is good. Some days that is all I need to know. His faithfulness whispers to me that restoration is underway and the development of my heart and soul continues – as to say life only does get better, despite the circumstances as His reality becomes my reality. My emotions are not transformed by trying harder but by seeing more clearly.
Rest springs from the affirmation of my identity, of who I am in Him as I stop comparing myself with others. A friend of mine reminded me that He loves all on an equal scale but in different ways. Truly, comparison has robbed me of joy and a sense of uncomprehendable peace! It previously kept me from doing what He has called me to do. But thank God for His wakeup calls of Grace. He reminds me that He has put a gift, a call and a desire in my heart different than anyone else’s. And I’m wired that way for a reason. Soul satisfaction in my Christ saturated future frees me from self protecting fear.
No more striving. No more struggling. No more jockeying for position. No more competing. All things are mine in Christ. The world only knows of covetous dreams rooted in what others have. He is bringing me forth as a courageous dreamer steeped in His heart. Therefore, I journey life from victory, not towards it, from full to ever increasing, not empty trying to get full. I am not fighting to be righteous. i am already made righteous. I am simply learning to live outwardly like the person I am inwardly. I no longer operate from a place of need and performance, creating a huge fear of failure, maneuvering around possibilities can operate from a place of inheritance instead of a place of need and performance which deviates me away from my destiny.
I can rest because I Jesus lives - I can act differently, acting and reacting from a place of peace and an attitude of assurance. His Presence is the answer and the antidote.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”- 1 Peter 5:10
Psalm 106 is a story of my fickle heart and of His faithfulness, a motion picture of Grace, a story of how I fall short, drawn to the cycle of failing over and over again and how He ALWAYS comes to the rescue. Yes, I am the rebellious Israelite and Him? He is my Faithfulness, my Savior.
Verses 7, 18 and 20 in Psalm 106 mentioned “they did not understand Your wonders, they did not remember the multitude of Your mercies, but lusted exceedingly, rebelled and changed their glory.” But praise be to God for He regarded their affliction when He heard their cry (verse 44), He remembered His covenant and relented according to the multitude of His mercies (verse 45).
How often have I grown accustomed, grown familiar to His mercies that I fail to see the big picture? Am I so prideful that I feel entitled, worthy to receive all of this?! My prayer is that I may never lose the sense of wonder, that I’d be wide eyed and mystified with the faith of a child, staring at His beauty, fascinated by His majesty.
Am I too distracted by my own matters, caring only after pleasing myself, lusting over the things of earth, neglecting the things that matter for the things that do not matter that I begin to forsake what is of greater importance, that I forget His marvelous works ? Am I exchanging His glory for obscurity, for things that won’t carry any value in the future time being? Am I living a life that is superficial and shallow, busy but barren? Am I distracted by my worries, choked up by my worries that I overlook who He is and what He can do?
Do I have any idea how many things in my life have died that I never even knew came into my life because I was too distracted to see them coming? How often have I spend my time asking God to give me blessings when I actually needed to fix my eyes on the blessings that are already before me, getting my focus off the distractions that have come to rob me from those blessings.
In John 10:10, Jesus says the thief comes to only steal, kill, and destroy. And yet he doesn’t destroy my life in a way that I can see, he destroys by distraction, killing focus, peace, joy, opportunities, relationships, what could have been, what might be.
Today, I am encouraged, challenged and committed to keep my eyes on the One who matters, discovering ways to not fall out of love with Him, refueling my fire, whatever it takes. I won’t let the enemy snatch the moments, the opportunities, the potential of my life that matter with things that are ultimately insignificant. I won’t let things be snatched from my life in seed form before it ever even has a chance to make a difference and bring a harvest. I am refusing for stuff that is significant to be snatched by stuff that seems urgent that actually really doesn’t matter. I am encouraged to be committed in rerooting, reanchoring myself in Him so I won’t be easily distracted. In Him, I have a guiding sense of principles or priorities to make my decisions by. I won’t let the enemy catch me spiritually sleeping, allowing him to wreck me by distraction. Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love the Lord God with all my heart – not with a distracted, divided, sometimes I’m in, sometimes I’m out, not with a noncommittal, indecisive faith- all my soul, all my mind and all my strength. I will press toward the mark, toward the price of the high calling. I have a destiny. I refuse to let distractions keep me from my destiny, sidetracking me from my purpose. Thank you Lord for your wake up calls of Grace.
“Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol.” – Psalm 24:3-4
As I was having my quiet time this morning, I was led to Psalm 24:3-4, a Bible verse quite well known and often quoted. However, this morning the Lord led me to see and revel in this verse under a new light. Most Christians tend to overlook the last part of the verse, why? The crude, simplistic picture that springs to mind is an idol sculpture in some traditional country, when actually, idols are not just on pagan altars, but in well educated human hearts and minds (Yes, that would be you and me!). An idol is anything that, if God were to ask me to give up, I wouldn’t be willing to - anything that would be a struggle to give up is a potential idol. An idol is something good that becomes a number one priority.
These days, the Lord has been placing the topic of idolatry close to my heart. In this new season, He challenges me to walk on water with Him, pushing all comfort aside for fullness of joy in Him despite of how my external circumstances might look like. Growing up in a place where I was always well provided for caused me to be cocooned away in my comfort zone, taking so many things for granted. And when the time came for the Lord to lead me to this whole new season of starting afresh away from my loved ones, away from my comfort zone, seeds of doubt started to appear in me. So when did I start making my comfort the end goal? When did I start believing that I am entitled to a hiccup free life? When did I start believing that life’s inconveniences or problems meant I must not be doing a good job or meant I was somehow less worthy? Here’s the thing, I can testify that idols are powerless things that drain you of strength, bringing about terrible spiritual blindness of heart and mind (Isaiah 44:18)- it deluded me through a web of lies. But He being a Loving and Faithful God, in my stage of pity party, He graciously challenged me to give up my idol, my comfort zone whilst walking on water with Him for something worth way more – fullness of joy in Him.
Here I am, in my early stages of walking on water with Him, – an exhilarating yet terrifying experience for me. I still have a long way to go, but the peace He’s planted in my heart has proven to be more than enough for me, definitely exceeding my understanding, the struggle of my external circumstances. Because as I walk on water with Him, my struggle, my burden becomes His, and His peace, His joy, His love becomes mine.
Friends, the challenge is to let go of whatever that is giving you worth that is not God, because that’s an idol. Idols will demand more and more and they will consume us until we become enslaved – drained of what He has in store for us. Jesus wants us to be free from that and He has offered His life for your freedom. Rejoice and rest in the ultimate freedom, the completed work Jesus has died to give you. His grace is unmerited (you can’t earn it) and His grace gives you the power to obey Him. Jesus must become more beautiful than your imagination, more attractive to your heart than your idol. My prayer for all of you is that you’d soak yourself so deep in who He is, in all that He has for you that you break free from all idolatry. Be encouraged today to ascend the hill of the Lord, to stand in His holy place. Christ is enough! Love you guys!
I am loved. I am loved. I am loved.
If there is one thing I am definitely sure of in this lifetime, it’s His FAITHFULNESS. I am currently writing this blog entry as I pack to leave in pursuit of my further studies in Sydney. Yes, the thought of the future in an unfamiliar place without my loved ones can be so bleak, so unnerving but He has been so faithful in bringing peace and reassurance in the form of loving friends and family. When my fickle heart starts to waver in the uncertainty of the future, I can look upon His faithfulness, the promises He has fulfilled and the ones that are to be brought into fulfillment. Paradoxical as it is, my soul finally finds satisfaction when I give up before God. It certainly has been an incredible season of sowing in tears, and something about that makes me anticipate what God might do all the more (hint hint: reaping with joy!!! :D ).
This past season of waiting and pruning has moulded me in the area of my security, regarding who I am in Christ and the awareness of Him (contentment and godliness). Because I know who I am in Christ, all that I pursue and do is from a settled soul, a settled place. Being settled means having the ability to discover enjoyment in every circumstance and situation I find myself in.
It honestly hasn’t been easy but I have now tasted and seen the power of wrestling on my knees in prayer. If I’m not willing to battle both in the physical and spiritual realm, if I’m not willing to pray relentlessly, sacrifice my time, my money, myself- then I don’t value or desire it as much as I think I do. The amount I am willing to fight for something is one of the clearest indications of how much I value it.
In this past season, I have also been given a deeper understanding of community. There was a moment where I asked God for reassurance and He reminds me He loves me so much to surround me with friends who are family. These people have definitely added value in my life by reconnecting me with my Valuer. Therefore, I am persuaded that not giving up is only possible when I live life in a community. Yes, you too :)! Sometimes, I need other people to remind me that He PERMANENTLY SMILES on me regardless of what I do and no matter how I feel His favor remains! :) Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.
Thank You for your faithfulness. I pray that I won’t ever take it for granted. Thank You for friends who are family. I can embrace any change because I have You who do not change and cannot fail. Thank You for being constantly present in every season of my life- though there may be many distractions in the world, you will always be the ONE thing I can count on. My resting place today, You started the work- You are faithful to complete it. My growth in godliness is in Your hands yesterday, today, forever.
— Jon Foreman (via hislivingpoetry)
There are some Christians who prefer structure, authority, discipline, and hard work. They want to schedule their Bible-reading and they need to check off a calendar and they want to attend church on a weekly planner. They tithe to the exact dollar and they dress up every Sunday and they would never ever curse, not even after getting a papercut from their latest Oswald Chambers devotional. And I think that’s okay. I don’t think religion has to be such a bad word all the time. Again, effort is not legalism, because legalism is legalism.
I think God has room for the highly devout church guy who sits in the front row because God respects our individual dignity and personalities. God does not mock the button-up bravado of the sincerely stiff worshiper — because this sort of Christian is still a sinner in need of grace, like you and me, and we’re not called to treat him based on any other parameter.
God has wired each of us differently. Some Christians will drink a beer and smoke cigars and get tattoos and pray in the woods by the river with a handmade journal and Lecrae and Mumford and Sons and Nirvana in their iPod — because this is how they meet Jesus. God has a limitless imagination to speak to each of us in a wild variety of ways. To limit this is to limit God, and I don’t ever want to suckerpunch His sovereignty.
— Jackson Kiddard (via thelovelyloner)