She Reads Truth| Advent

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(sometimes quiet time is much, much easier when there’s a cozy space and no one around…)

Advent 2017: Joy to the World: Day 10

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” -Romans 3:21-28

God is so good (I feel like I begin all my quiet time saying this). We ALL are the worst and have sinned. Daily we receive His “grace upon grace.” I can’t explain, how freeing this is. I know so many unbelievers who think Christianity is just a bunch of rules and oppression. AHHHH, how do I scream with love and tell them that there is freedom in His sacrifice! He lived a perfect life so we don’t have to! Each and every time we fail, He is there to cover us in His blood. And what do we have to do for this forgiveness and love?

NOTHING!

It’s the best gift ever. His grace and His righteousness are sweet, precious gifts; that we do not deserve, but are abundantly given. ❤

Ugh, now comes the difficult part- we can’t boast in ourselves or our works. It’s hard because I’m always looking for some way to look like I have my life together in an aesthetically pleasing way (even if my life is falling a part(ish)). That I’m living a life of lavish, instead of a life lavishly fulfilled by Christ. I can lie and say I’m boasting in Christ when I post something, but am I truly in awe in His glory and creativity? Or does it just look pretty and I need the envy or validation from others? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Today I was reminded to check myself before I post; and if I am boasting in myself or the Lord. I’m convicted to thank Him for His gift, the only gift ever needed. To praise Him and be filled with a crazy amount of joy that I WILL NEVER BE EXPECTED TO BE PERFECT! ❤ To stop comparing myself to others, because we’re all in the ‘we-stink-without-Christ boat’ together! Ugh, such a good reading today from She Reads Truth.

 

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She Reads Truth | Colossians

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“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.” -Colossians 3:18-4:1

Honest moment: to me, this section of Colossians is so difficult.

It’s difficult because these verses have been, and continue to be, twisted so much in society. It mentions women being ‘submissive,’ slavery, ect. Ugh. Haters gonna hate, hate, hate.

BUT WE KNOW THE LORD, and He is good.

Submitting to your husband does not mean being a doormat; or being ok with being abused, not listened to, or controlled. NOT OK.

Obeying your parents does not mean being ok with being molested, neglected, or physically harmed. NOT OK.

Slavery is NOT OK. I hate the argument that it’s in the Bible, so Christians must be ok with it. N.O. It is in the Bible. Slavery is all over history. If you “conquered” an area, those who lived there became slaves. If you owed a debt to someone, you could work it off as a bondservant. Do I agree, no, but did it happen, yes. Since it did/ was happening, obviously the writer of Colossians needed to address it. He addressed it by saying LOVE your ‘bondservant,’ just as God loves you. Treat them fairly, and just. No abuse. No torture. Loving them as our Lord loves us.

I, through travels, have met people who were ‘slaves.’ They had no freedom. They lived in a country that was not their own. They didn’t speak the language. They worked for nothing. They couldn’t even talk to anyone. I pray for the two I met, I pray for the ones I haven’t met. I pray that someday they are free (spiritually & physically). I pray the person who has enslaved them changes their views on controlling people. I pray that they know they are loved.

So the above is all hard stuff to explain to the world, yeah?

Personally, the MOST difficult part is: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

Whatever I do? WHATEVER I DO? Driving? I do for the Lord. Washing dishes? I do for the Lord. Planning events? I do for the Lord. Making meal train meals? I do for the Lord.

Sometimes I’m lazy. Sometimes my work ethic sucks. During these times I NEED, NEED, NEED to remind myself that EVERYTHING I do is for God. Is my procrastination glorifying Him? Yes I need rest, and that is good, but is 12 hours of sleep the best way to show others His light?

Sometimes I get bummed when I’m not ‘noticed’ for doing things. Currently, at work, a coworker likes to get all the attention, and take a lot of the credit for my work. While I was venting about this, a friend reminding me that I don’t work for the glory of man. I do my job well for the glory of our King.

This is not easy. I want to be recognized for the work I do. I think hard work should be rewarded. I also think I need to continually repeat that my inheritance is not of this world. My rewards are following God. My reward is obeying God. YOU ARE SERVING THE LORD, DO IT WELL. (I’m going to repeat this like 100x times today. At least.)

Also check out Matthew 6:33Ephesians 5:22-6:9

She Reads Truth | Colossians

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“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” -Colossians 3:12-17

How amazing that I get to take off the past, the darkness, the ugly, the lies, and put on the beautiful: the kindness, the compassionate hearts, patience, ect!

Also, let’s be honest, how difficult is it to sometimes put these characteristics on? During a hard day at work or home, I don’t want to practice humility. I don’t like when others get credit for work I’ve done. I don’t always want to practice kindness or compassion when I’m driving and someone slows down unexpectedly or cuts me off! But that’s when your old self gets to die over and over and the Spirit gets to breath life and His love into you! ❤

Sin has no dominion over me…. but, man, oh, man, does it try so hard to creep into my life and become habitual. Each time a choice is made: to turn to sin or to turn to God and grow closer to Him. This might not work for everyone, but right now when sin presents itself I literally ask myself… would I rather do this sin or would I rather turn to God. UGH. Does that show where your heart is at in the moment or what?! No lies, sometimes I choose laziness, pride, lust over the freedom of Christ. THANK YOU JESUS FOR FORGIVENESS AND GRACE! Thank you Lord for being the ultimate, for conquering ALL sin. I am so sorry I choose it sometimes. Help me God to turn from it and to truly embrace complete light.

My prayer today, and a lot of days, is that the peace of God is evident in my life and that I’m thankful throughout the WHOLE day for His gifts, and choose Him over sin. That ALL I do today (from driving to cooking, from checking emails to meetings at work) I do well for Him and His glory.

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She Reads Truth| Colossians

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Sometimes (ummm, a lot of the time…) I’m worried that people can’t tell I’m a follower of Christ. Like what sets me a part from the do-gooders of today who don’t believe in God? Can you, honestly and genuinely, say “to God be the glory,” each and every time you receive a compliment/ praise (to where people don’t want to shove you off a cliff?)?

I don’t know why, but while reading Colossians 2, Matthew 15:1-9, & Romans 7:4 I was struck with these thoughts. Really these questions have nothing to do with the verses, but kept creeping in my mind, so that’s what was meditated on this past week.

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” -Colossians 2:6-7

* What sets me a part from the “do-gooders” of today who don’t believe in God? EXACTLY THAT- they don’t believe and follow the Lord. That’s the only difference. People still want to and can do such beautiful, amazing things in life- because we were all created in God’s image. Humans don’t get to choose to be image bearers, we just are. So it makes sense that people who are atheist or agnostic can still do selfless acts of love…

* So how do I let others know that my ‘selfless acts of love’ are done because of Christ and not of me (because in all honesty I’m super selfish and would pick serving myself over serving someone else any day). Or when someone compliments your outfit that day are you suppose to say “to God be the glory,” or “all things through Christ?” I think what I’m comfortable with is just being genuine in response. To sincerely accept the words of encouragement- if it feels appropriate to say what a joy it was to serve, but if it doesn’t feel real, just to say thank you. I don’t think you have to continuously verbally state that all good things come through Christ, but to live a life pointing toward Him. Right? IDK. Someone help me please.

Anyway those were my thoughts from the readings, which had nothing to do with the readings. Thanks for reading this mess of a post…. and for hopefully providing me with your insight on how to better honor God.

She Reads Truth | Colossians

What are you reading right now? Currently on my  nightstand is Crazy Rich Asians. In my car (you know, just in case I get to a meeting early, or have to wait somewhere for a long-ish time): Big Little Lies (if Reese Witherspoon read it, I will too). At my gym locker (because my gym is a spa…and I have a problem): The Program (gotta love that YA fiction). I’m loving each one of these book so far, they do bring joy and such an escape, but none are spirit-filling, or growing me as a believer. For that, the book I’m going through is Colossians.

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I’m using She Reads Truth as a guide- it’s great (so great that this is the 2nd time I’m going through Colossians with them). It’s helping me to keep on track on where I am, what other verses correlate with where I’m reading, and to get other people’s encouragement/ insights on the verses.

So far I’m only on Day 6 in Colossians, and am in awe of Christ. He is so good. God created us, and all of the seen and unseen (WHAT IS THE UNSEEN?).

Another truth it reveals: we are made for him. Sometimes in life I feel as if I have no purpose, and reading the words that I was “from Him, and we exist for Him.” (1 Corinthians 8:6ish) reminds me not to believe in those lies. I have a reason for existence.

Also, Colossians reminds me how to pray for others. I should ask the Lord that my sisters/ brother would grow in the His knowledge & wisdom, bearing fruit, being strengthened by God (with endurance and patience), thanking God for Truth and forgiveness.

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, o as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”- Colossians 1:9-14

Colossians is such a sweet reminder of how much Christ loves us, the church. And, to me, served as a conviction- that when a brother/ sister tells you they’re hurting (or you see it) we are suppose to pray without ceasing! I, usually, just say a quick prayer asking God to cover that individual with peace and strength, but Paul reminds us that we need to continue that prayer every day until God has answered.

Thanks for letting me ramble, cant wait to dig deeper into this book. ❤

She Reads Truth| The Gospel Changes Everything

“The Gospel is Jesus Christ. It is His life, death and resurrection.”

My sister works in collegiate ministry. Whenever she meets a new student who wants to be mentored, she (at some point in the first few meetings) asks them what the Gospel means. It’s staggering how many times students, RAISED IN THE CHURCH, cannot answer this question genuinely. Knowing and living the Gospel is the epicenter of a relationship with God. The Gospel changes EVERYTHING.

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” 

-1 Corinthians 15: 1-4

I can’t wrap my mind around the Truth, but I know it’s the Truth. I’ve gone through so many classes on the Bible, apologetics, fallacies in the Bible (there are none, btw). I studied biochemistry and evolution for 3 years. Throughout high school I was obsessed with learning about other religions. Each time, after every research project- I always came back to the Gospel. It’s where I find my hope. I can’t fully understand why I believe it (although I can articulate why I don’t believe other things), but the mystery of the Gospel “does not make it less true.”

Things I know: Jesus loves me. Jesus died for me. Jesus rose. I’m called to share the Good News. Jesus is coming back.

I’m excited to start  the plan “This is the Gospel” by “She Reads Truth,” to be reminded of the love, hope, perfection of Jesus. And I hope when someone asks me what the Gospel means, I will be ready with an answer.

She Reads Truth| I Need Thee Every Hour

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Today was day 5 (for me) of the plan “Hymns,” on SHE READS TRUTH. The past week of revisiting old hymns really made me appreciate the musically talented. (I have no musical talent. My middle school band director told me to pic another hobby. THAT’S how terrible I was). SHE READS TRUTH also has a Spotify playlist of the songs on the plan- check it out.

One part of the devotional this morning that really struck me:

“I ask Jesus for all the things, but I don’t ask Him enough.”

How true is this? I could ask Jesus all day everyday, but that still wouldn’t be enough. Thank God He doesn’t require that. He desires that, but He doesn’t require it. Jesus paid my debt, He lived perfectly. I am so free from that debt. I am so free of worry. (Or I should be so free from worry, but I still, unfortunately, do sometimes).

I need Him every hour. He is always near. When I’m filled with joy- He’s there to be praised. When I’m filled with fear- He’s there to take it away. When I’m bored- He’s there to remind me to get the freak out of boredom and serve Him, share Him. When I’m lost in pity- He’s there to remind me to thank Him. He is with me every hour, because I need Him every hour. I just have to come to Him.

Another part of the devotional that struck a chord (get it, it’s a song devotional and I said chord…I love puns):

JOHN 15:5 “Apart from me you can do nothing.”

“Do you hear the freedom in that today? You and I don’t have to manufacture our own goodness, our own enoughness. Everything good is from Him and for Him.”

John 15:5 use to make me feel really useless. This is exactly what I needed to read today (and everyday?). I am easily upset. I feel like I could be the person that reaches over the counter and strangles someone (I work retail). I am the person in their car who quite possibly could hit your car out of rage because you may or may not have cut me off. Because of Jesus I am free from those actions. I have peace because of Him. He is more than my moral compass or my Jiminy Cricket. Jesus is my Savior. And when I find myself getting upset, I turn to Him and He calms my soul.

“I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;

Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.”