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Grace and goodness

Three days of inadequate efforts and I’m just plain tired. I mean, I’m really tired. I’ve experienced more spiritual warfare in the past few days than ever before. From dawn to dusk, it’s been one act of Satan working against me after another.  Ephesians 6:17 tells us, “Put on salvation as your helmet and take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” I’ve been clinging to that “sword of the Spirit” all week, calling upon the Lord to sustain me one day at a time. I’m reminding myself to rejoice in the blessings of fiery trials as Scripture says. Slowly but surely, I’m finding that rotten days strengthen my faith a little extra.

This morning I woke up and honestly dreaded another day, fearing that it’d be as exhausting as the days before. I turned on the radio as I drove to school, forgetting that it’s never rarely anything but Christian talk shows that early. Emphasis on the rarely. This is where the week’s tired prayers became fruitful: a song was playing, and it instantly spoke so much life into me. I only caught, “Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal, so lay down your burdens,” before it went to static. I just kind of lingered in the Lord’s presence for awhile, soaking every bit of that in. That single line laid every trouble to rest.

Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal, so lay down your burdens.

I said, “No, Lord! I need to hear the rest of that!”

I came to terms with the lost radio station and opted for Pandora. Seconds later, the very same song was playing through my speakers. The exact song that had been lost to static happened to be streaming from Pandora just when I needed it to. This was Jesus saying, “My mercy is new every morning,” as I got my cup refilled.

“Come out of sadness, wherever you’ve been. Come broken hearted, let rescue begin. Come find your mercy, oh sinner come near. Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal. So lay down your burdens, lay down your shame. All who are broken, lift up your face. Oh wanderer, come home, you’re not too far. Lay down your hurt, lay down your heart, come as you are. There’s hope for the hopeless, and all those who’ve strayed. Come sit at the table, come taste the grace. There’s rest for the weary, rest that endures, earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t cure. Come as you are, fall in His arms. There’s joy for the morning, sinner be still.” – David Crowder

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Bittersweet and Ever-Changing

I believe there’s a time in everyone’s life where we get caught up in this tangled mess of confusion, and each strand of hurt or affliction or burden gets wound together all at once. I believe we all come to a point where we feel life and living are too much to bare, and all this urgency we have inside to make things right within ourselves becomes just as heavy of a load as all the other matters we’re facing. Our thoughts become jumbled and we see things more as a fog. We have to squint to see through the obscurities in our way. We have to try extra hard to see things the way they were before. Doubt corrupts our mind, tainting our views on ourselves and what we’re capable of. We can’t tell right from wrong, or what’s the end or only the beginning of a memoir. This seemingly never ending brawl within us finally gets us where it should: on our knees in surrender. This fight is good, in the way that childbirth is good, and grief is good, and defeat is good. It hurts, and it’s tough, but joy comes in the morning. (For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.) Psalm 30:5  The desperation welling up inside is longing for a hope that will ease the suffering we face in this moment, this moment of vulnerability. And in that moment, we abandon our struggles at the altar, or the bathroom floor, or wherever we put a halt to life and break down. We cry out to the ceiling, knowing what lies far beyond it. We pray for all the heavy burden to be lifted off our weak shoulders, because when compared to our Maker, we’re just these minuscule beings with little understanding of the world. Our loving King comes to our rescue just as He said He would, lifting off the weight of this world. And my friends, if you’ve not yet been caught up in a tangled mess of confusion, where each strand of hurt or affliction or burden gets wound together all at once, don’t think for a minute that God won’t be there to deliver you. When you feel life and living is too much to bare, and all the urgency you have to make things right within yourself becomes just as heavy of a load as all the other matters you’re facing, break through the dark night and dance your way into the joyful morning. Don’t try and do it on your own, but rather call on your gracious Father in Heaven. Remember the life that you find hard to live hasn’t run it’s full course yet, and God has much more planned for you. Call on God to be the light that guides you through the fog of chaos. Call on God for truth to cast aside any doubts. Appreciate growing in the bitter you face, and all the while be overwhelmed by the sweetness of His love. We need some “bittersweet” in our life to grow. Sweet is great, and I think we’d all agree we want more of the sweet than we do the bitter, but bittersweet is courageous. The bittersweet in life is ultimately beautiful and valiant and bewildering. When put together it’s something much more deep and life-altering. And although we all reach these heavy-ladened times, we’re blessed with a divine God to carry us out.

Thank you, and God bless each of you.

-Sara

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Heaven or Hell

As I listened to Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath earlier, it really hit me that literally every person on this earth is going somewhere after this life. I’ve always known this, but it really smacked me in the face today. Every person I’ve ever come across, my mom, my dad, my friends, my friend’s mom and dad, my doctor, my teachers, the crossing guards, everyone you see on t.v., ect. Many of those celebrities have it all, but if they don’t have Christ, what do they really have? They have all these worldly things, but nothing waiting for them after this life other than a pit of fire. We think we have the rest of our lives to go out and witness, but we aren’t even promised a tomorrow. We hear that so much, but if you think about it, and really let that sink in, you realize we don’t have much time at all. 7 billion people, all going to Heaven or Hell. We have to reach them as soon as we get an opportunity to, because they aren’t promised a tomorrow either. It’s time to get out of our comfortable shells and go out of our comfort zone to lead someone to Jesus. Nothing in this life will matter if it isn’t about loving God and the people He has made. Not now, or ever.  It’s pretty awesome to know theres a Kingdom waiting for us all. It’s even greater to know theres a God waiting to welcome us, and pour out His love as we enter. We don’t want people to miss out on that, it’s hard to wrap my mind around people burning in Hell for an eternity because someone didn’t make sure they heard the gospel. If someone doesn’t choose Jesus, then we pray for them. That is our duty, we’re called for this. We must be His hands and feet. We have to love, we have to give, we have to witness. I pray today that we can each lead our communities, our states, our countries, our world, to Christ. That we can all convince people of His love and mercy. I pray that people realize the power of the cross, and choose to accept Jesus as their savior.

 

Thank you, God bless you. Be a witness.

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Unashamed of the Gospel

Romans 1:16 tells us, “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes–the Jew first and also the Gentile.

This has been pretty heavy on my heart the past six months. I was always bold in my faith, and never quiet about my love for God or what He’s done for me. People knew I was a strong Christian and knew the passion I shared for Christ. In the past year, I felt myself beginning to slip out of the, “Jesus High”, as many call it. I still prayed and listened to my usual Christian radio station, but I let Twitter, Youtube, friends, music, ect. take a toll on my lifestyle. I picked up friends that supported that kind of life, but weren’t really into it. In a way, that brought me away from God without me noticing. I found myself not wanting to witness to people. What I like to call, shame. I listened to secular music, and when you think about it, it can be quite a challenge to avoid. It’s all over t.v., playing in stores, it’s someone’s ringtone, someone’s rapping behind you in school, ect. I mean, that stuff really changes a person.

This past week, I felt God really telling me, you know, “Hey, this isn’t the life for you.” I knew all that junk wasn’t where my heart was, and I knew it really had to go back to the way it was. I love Jesus Christ, and I love the life I live for Him. What He did was incredible. The man died for every soul on earth so we could get the chance at eternal life with Him. I mean, what love. Listen to me though, anyone reading this, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Jesus poured out his blood on a cross that he carried himself, and while being beat, and spat at I may add. All those men and disbelievers shouted all kinds of hurtful, sick, twisted words at the Son of God. But Jesus took it, and He did it out of love. A man dying for you as you live a life of sin, so you can live an eternal life in Heaven, is nothing anyone should feel ashamed of.

The past week I recommitted and I AM UNASHAMED.