I’ve Been Waiting For Like EVER…

I pray before I write my posts, I pray that God would give me the words someone out there needs to read. I pray that my readers’ hearts would be softened towards God and that they would be open to His words.  In my last post I wrote about completely relying on God for everything!

Today I felt I should write about patience, I didn’t want to, but then I went back and read my previous post… and well here we are. God knows what he is doing so I don’t have to!

I will be honest patience not my strong point. I really don’t enjoy waiting in lines, waiting for packages to arrive, or waiting for my water to boil. I have lots of practice waiting on the Lord, it wasn’t easy and I felt like I was going nowhere for a while.

The great thing about God is he always pulls through. Most people want a straight answer “Yes!” “No!” unfortunately we normally get “just wait”
If you are trusting God with everything in your life and you know he is going to take care of you, Awesome! But if during that time of “just wait” you start to doubt then you might be human!  I want to encourage you to stick it out, God keeps his promises!

Joshua 21: 45 “Not one of the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; everyone was fulfilled.”

Waiting can be tiresome and you end up feeling like God doesn’t care, or he is far away! I just recently got my answer after praying about something for almost 2 years. It’s not that God is far away, he’s not busy or even unconcerned.

In fact God is making you a better Christian, if God asks you to wait, view it as a test of your loyalty! How much are you willing to go through for the sake of Christ? During your waiting as soon as things start to look uncertain do you turn to other things besides God? Do you take matters into your own hands, that is the quickest way to stab yourself in the back!

If I have learned anything being a Christian it is that God wants you to want Him. As soon as things, people, or even church start creeping up on your priority list that’s when things get fuzzy. If you don’t have the direction of the Lord you are walking down a dangerous path completely blind.

So I encourage you, don’t try to fix things on your own give it to Jesus! He will deal with it.

James 5:7-8 “Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.”

STAND FIRM!

Freaketh not

The past couple weeks things have been good! I’ve felt like God has been hearing me and like we are in tune.  Not to say every day life has been good, there are still trials and failures in my walk, but the point is God is still good.

There is a song we used to sing in my old Sunday school class when I was little

“God is good all the time put a song of praise in this heart of mine. God is good all the time. God is good; He’s so good ALL the time.”

It’s hard to imagine with our always changing human minds that God is never-changing.

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

Sin has done a lot of damage to everyone in this world but the one that stuck out to me this week is it tells us we can’t trust anything. Nothing is for sure and everything could change at the last second. Lack of trust is a wall most people have.

There are so many absolutes in the Bible and maybe that’s what drives the worry worms away. To believe in God is not only to believe he can, but that he will! Faith in your heavenly father should be irrational to those around you. If you feel God is telling you something point-blank, don’t hesitate to believe him, because you might get let down.

Teenagers aren’t the only ones who have trouble trusting God with everything. For me this was the biggest obstacle to overcome and I still struggle with it sometimes. Being a Christian is not just a box you check on face-book or going to church on Sundays. It’s giving up your entire life, every part of you. Being willing to throw everything to the wind and live only with God.

Personally that terrified me. We all have our thing; God can have everything… except my nice house. God you can have all of me… just don’t ask me to witness. It is a process that no one perfects until heaven.

There are always going to be worries, but if you lay them at the foot of the cross, it’s out of your hands.  God never called us to success or steady lives, he called us to faith and he called our hearts to seek Him.

Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

The problem is we expect more than God. I have to do this I have to do that, when all along God’s been saying “Just listen to me and calm your heart.”

Matthew 6: 25-27 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

My old principal had a saying “Freaketh not.” In other words, stop freaking out!

Charm is Deceptive

 A poem inspired by Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

 

Flimsy, fickle, fleeting

Fair skin can’t hide

Smooth deceptive words heating

Boiling up inside

 

Father seeks the sincere

Over any charade

He praises those who fear

Along with faith that does not fade

 

Beauty will shrivel and die

Devotion lives evermore

Charm will continue to whisper the lie

Beauty is vital, nothing less nothing more.

I’m read for my close-up

Are you a good actor or actress? You might answer right away with a sounding YES or NO! For this post I will be talking to the ‘No way Jose!’ type people. You know who you are the person who freezes on stage and runs off.

But I’m not talking about the acting on Broadway, or even your local theater. I’m talking about every day, are you playing a character for your different social groups? Or are you, YOU no matter who is watching.

1 peter 2:12 “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on that day he visits us.”

We are supposed to be different. I know teenagers hate anything that makes them different, we hope to blend and be looked over. I lived like that for about four years. I was beige, a cookie-cutter average teen. I didn’t have a radical faith or try to win my friends for Jesus.

I’m not something special now, but I have something wonderful inside of me, Jesus! I hope people can see that. I still slip! More than I would like to! I act like the world and think nothing of it, our culture may change but God’s standards don’t.

I can’t count how many times I have heard this excuse “Well the bible was written a long time ago, things are different now.”

Ecclesiastes 3:14 “I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.”

We strive to be like God, His standards never change, and neither should ours.  I will be the first to admit that it is so easy to act like the people you are around, teens in particular struggle with this, I know I do! It’s hard to be the ‘only one’ doing, or not doing something.

This is why integrity is so important; you can be a great actress. Play church and be a ‘good person’ but if the spotlight was on you any other day than Sunday what would that look like?

Imagine prince charming has just finished his big number; he runs back stage and pulls off his mask to reveal his beastly face! The spotlight shines through the curtain and he is exposed for what he really is, an actor.

He certainly wasn’t ready for his close up! If you are playing the ‘good person’ maybe you need to clean some stuff out of your life so you can live an honestly pure life to glorify God.

1 Chronicles 29:17 “I know my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.”

Don’t walk around playing a part, God’s not impressed. Give God what he so deserves, your integrity.

Still want it?

Psalm 37: 4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

This is possibly my favorite bible verse.  Even though it took me a while to understand it completely it is near and dear to me.

Teenagers (including myself) are selfish, it’s true. Our desires are simple, our motives pretty clear and our world a fragile balance between popularity and materialistic happiness. Take away our cell phone and our life as we know it is over!

While this is shallow and seems harsh on paper, it’s more often than not the truth. I don’t know if people grow out of this, or if they just hide their selfishness better than immature teens. People are people; we want things that don’t matter past this life. A nice house, money and a healthy life.

When I first read this verse my eyes saw what I wanted them to. ‘The Lord will give you the desires of your heart.’ I thought this sounded fantastic and got out my check-list

  • God do this
  • God do that
  • God I need this
  • God stop doing that
  • God please let that person move to another country

As if the God who created the sun and gave us his son was going to follow my plans.

Proverbs 16:9 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

I think most people (like me) skip over that first little part ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and…’ Now that I read it and understand what it means some of the things on my checklist don’t seem so important anymore.

The Lord does incredible things! When we are following Him closely and dedicating ourselves to Him whole-heartedly we want what He wants.

For example I didn’t want to be home schooled. In fact it was that last thing I wanted. But God knew that for me, it was the best possible thing. The Lord has completely changed my heart in that way. I started to want what He wanted for me. I delighted myself in Him and He changed my desires.

For a while I sat there crossing my arms pouting because God didn’t do what he said he would do! But really I didn’t follow his word or I would know that it was me who was the problem and not God.

Are you delighting yourself in the Lord, filling yourself with His joy? Or sitting there wondering why you can’t have what you want and think you need?

 

Don’t be a Hater

I said in my last post how Jonah did go to Nineveh.

Jonah 3:3-5 “Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city – a visit required three days. On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: ‘Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.’ The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.”

It would seem that Jonah got what he wanted, he wasn’t called a loon. Wasn’t placed in jail or persecuted as other prophets were.

No, the Bible says the people believed what Jonah had said, his words from the Lord. Still Jonah is not pleased.

The king of Nineveh proclaims a decree

Jonah 3:9-10 “Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let then give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

The king recognized what was wrong with his city and wanted to change.  Jonah was not as pleased as the Lord with the King’s decision.

Jonah 3: 10 “When God saw what they did and how they had turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.”

Jonah 4:1-2 “But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. He prayed to the Lord, ‘O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? This is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.”

Talk about being a hater! This passage shows Jonah’s true colors, and I feel is left out a lot because we love happy endings. We get a peek into Jonah’s heart, where what we see is hate.  Jonah is quite dramatic in his next few words. He feels such a strong hate towards these people, he would rather die than see them spared.

Jonah 4:3-5 “Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.’ But the Lord replied, ‘Have you any right to be angry?’ Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city.”

Jonah is actually pouting! Can’t you just see him stomp off, plant himself outside the city walls and sit down stubbornly. I can imagine his thoughts, something like a child’s ultimatum

“I’m not leaving this spot until you destroy this city, God!” Even when we are acting like toddlers God still protects, provides, and loves us.

Jonah 4:6-8” Then the Lord God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed at the vine so that it withered. When the sun rose, god provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said ‘It would be better for me to die than to live’”

Jonah is certainly hot or cold, one moment he is happy and as soon as his shade is gone, he wants to die.

Jonah 4:9-10 “But God said to Jonah, ‘DO you have any right to be angry about the vine?’
‘I do,’ he said. ‘I am angry enough to die.’  But the Lord said, ‘You have been concerned about the vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and as many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?’”

That is how the book ends, God telling Jonah how childish he is being.  We don’t know if Jonah sat there till he died, I will leave it up to you to decide. I would like to think he changed his heart and felt compassion for Nineveh. But the bible doesn’t say.

Jonah was so bitter and stubborn he was willing to die if his enemies were going to live. I think sometimes we down play our hate. If God told us to go to that one person we hate and talk to them about God and his compassion towards them, could you do it?

You might do it if a gun was pointed at your head, or maybe you wouldn’t. Hate is ugly and it can turn us into spiteful children who get stuck in their own little world of Me! Me! Me!
Hate will eventually consume your life, so don’t make it about you. Make it about the Lord and then you will see how childish you are being.

Blessing in Disguise

So after Jonah gets thrown into the sea, the Lord doesn’t allow him to die. Instead Jonah gets swallowed whole by a “great fish” Jonah sat inside a fish for three days and nights. (EW!)

Jonah 1:17 “But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish for three days and nights.”

Personally, fish creep me out they are slimy and don’t look very smart. They seem content with eating bubbles and swimming around in circles. The bible doesn’t actually say that it was a whale but it could have been it would allow Jonah to breathe.

In Jonah’s case being swallowed by a fish is a blessing in disguise. I would rather have drowned than sit in a fish belly, but that’s just me.
While Jonah is inside the fish he prays! If it were me I would most likely go insane. I am extremely claustrophobic and the idea of being inside my least favorite animal… I’d be a mess. But Jonah starts praising the Lord for his situation!

Jonah 2:1-6 “From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.  You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. TO the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath me barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit O lord my God.”

Jonah amazes me; he sees something, which I would have seen as a curse, as a blessing. At this point Jonah has had three days of just prayer and sleep. The lord shows him favor and has the fish puke him up. (Super gross)

Normally when I think of blessing I don’t think of being turned into puke, but God uses extraordinary ways to help people.

Jonah 2: 10 “And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”

Jonah has seen the power of God first hand at this point. Maybe he takes God more seriously when he tells him yet again to go to Nineveh. Sometimes it takes extreme measures to get through to stubborn people.

The Lord tells Jonah again to go

Jonah 3:1 “Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.’”

He listened, but I don’t think his heart changed towards the people. This time I think it was fear of God moving him to the city.

Jonah changes, before he was filled with hatred toward the people of Nineveh and lack of healthy fear for the Lord. So he ran away.
Now after his near death experience he is convinced doing what God says is what’s best, but his heart still hates the city of Nineveh.

In chapter 4 Jonah shows this hatred for the people.

Coward or Courageous?

Have you ever hated someone?

The dictionary defines hate as this “to dislike somebody or something intensely, often in a way that evokes feelings of anger, hostility, or animosity” That is pretty intense.

Jonah is a great story that shows what hate can do. It is so much more than “the fish story” for young children!
When you think of Jonah what immediately comes to mind, for me it was the word coward. I had glanced over the Jonah story quite a few times! Growing up in church I had heard it, seen it acted out on the felt board and colored pictures of Jonah and the whale.

Last night I was reading Jonah and I discovered something that I had skimmed over before. The man who I had once thought as a coward I saw in a new light.
I think there is a lot more the Jonah and his character than we give him credit for!

Jonah 1: 1-3 “The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go before the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.”

Jonah clearly did not want to go to Nineveh; it was a very powerful city in Assyria at the time. The Assyrians had been enemies of the Israelites for a long time.
Why would Jonah, an Israelite, waltz into his enemy’s city and try to help them? Tell them to repent so that the wrath of the Lord would not come upon them.  I would think he would want God to destroy them. Who wouldn’t?

Now, Jonah did try to run away from God. (Which is impossible by the way * Psalm 139: 7-8 “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.) But I don’t think it was from cowardice, no I think he hated the fact God wanted him to help his persecutors.
Jonah left and most people know the story.

While he is on the boat a storm brews up and all the passengers pray to their gods. Nothing works! They cast lots and the lot falls on Jonah. They ask him to pray to his God. Jonah tells them that the storm is destroying the boat because of him. (I think that took courage!)

Jonah goes as far to tell the panicked men to throw him out of the boat into the unforgiving sea to calm the storm! That is pretty noble, risking his life so that the innocent men can get ashore. After the men see nothing will mollify the storm they throw Jonah over and the storm quiets down.

*Read Jonah chapter 1

I don’t know about you but I think Jonah, even though he ran away from God and his will, did some pretty gutsy things here! He was in the middle of the ocean with a mighty storm destroying his boat and he willingly lets the other men throw him out, in the middle of a watery death trap to save these strangers lives.
I don’t know if I would have the boldness, especially if I was aware God was not too pleased with me!

Jonah was a human just like you and me, so don’t categorize him as the great coward of the bible who tried to run away from an all-knowing God!  I believe Jonah had more courage than most people today, who do you know that would jump off a cruise ship in the middle of a storm to save a bunch of strangers?
I will be writing more about Jonah during this week! Try to read the posts as if you have never heard “the fish story” before.

I yam what I yam!


In 1st Corinthians 13:4-8 the next section of this verse is, “It does not boast, it is not proud.”

Loving someone is, more often than not, a challenge. I believe one of the reasons it seems so hard to love others is because we honestly, don’t care.
It is like this, when you go to eat dinner at someone’s house and they serve spinach and chicken. Taking the chicken and eating all of it is easy for me because I love chicken. However I just tolerate the spinach, I take a little eat most and try not to let them see I don’t particularly like it. I tolerate it. Yes, it’s there, they can’t say I didn’t eat any, but you see the difference.

We are like Popeye, we eat our spinach but we hate every second of it! Then after we are done we get rewarded with strength (or fake friends.) We are happy with our little arrangement, we get to be liked but we don’t have to invest! Why change? “I yam what I yam!”

I know this is what most teenagers are like. Most of them (including me!) want to be liked by people. Who wouldn’t? But our pride stands in the way, we don’t think about loving one another for the kingdom of God. We think of tolerating people for the sake of our own mutual comfort.

1 John 3: 13 “Do not be surprised, my brother if the world hates you.”

One of the reasons people end friendships is because one person is phony. They don’t love, they tolerate.
The only solution I see is Jesus! Humans are awfully selfish! But if we love Jesus, his love will shine through! We will start to see people as beings in Christ instead of just a crowd that’s blocking our way to the exit.

When I first became a Christian I remember noticing people more, seeing their faces and recognizing that the God of the universe made them! I noticed, unfortunately, that most of them were not happy! You could see it on their face.

My point is that if you see people as children of God, it is easier to love them. People are annoying, yes. People will let you down, but don’t forget that they are just like you in the sense that they are God’s!

We don’t tolerate God! We love him, so don’t tolerate his children, love them.

It is much more productive for us if we are filled with endless love! If we walk around hating people, it doesn’t hurt them it just makes us bitter and farther from God.

I know lots of people think of Love as an emotion. But the love it talks about in the bible, I believe, is not an emotion, it is a choice.
You won’t all of sudden love everyone and have feelings of love all the time! No, you will have to make the choice to love people. There will be times when it would be much simpler to tolerate, but I pray you choose love!

*picture google images*

Bandwagon fan?

This has been my verse the last couple weeks!

1 Peter 8-9 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering.”

All this week and last I have been hearing about suffering, through my youth leaders, my own personal quiet time and even on commercials and things like that. What I have seen is that the world view of how to deal with suffering and the bibles view on how to deal and understand suffering are very different.

The world says that we should be happy and that anything that makes us happy is good! There is no absolute right or wrong, happiness is something different for everyone, and you shouldn’t have to go through hard times! Right now I want to talk about the last one the mind set of ‘Bad things shouldn’t happen to me!’

Romans 5:3-5 “Not only so, but we also rejoice in out sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured put his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

It is easy to love God when everything is peaches and cream! God uses suffering to bring us closer! Like my youth pastor said once “No one grows in good times” it’s true! If we never go through trials and hard rough patches how are we going to cling to God? God never promised us that being a Christian would be easy!

Luke 9:23-24 “Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

Being a Christian is completely laying down your will and letting Jesus take over. Suffering is a part of this; the world will hate us for following Jesus.

1st John 3:13 “Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.” Are you a bandwagon Christian, only following Jesus when it’s easy? Or do you cling to Him even when it’s painful?

We can choose joy in the midst of suffering by giving our troubles to God!

 

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