The Dangerous Lie You Believe About Your So-called Sin

They say the most dangerous lie is that which contains a sliver of truth, just enough to make it sound good and appeal to our conscience while deftly leading us astray.

I fear some such lies have permeated Christian culture to the point that we have turned the gospel upside down, backwards, and inside out to make it mean the opposite of what it truly is. What a coup for the enemy to use God’s own well-meaning people to pervert the greatest sacrifice this world has ever seen.

What is this lie, you ask?

It’s the dangerous lie that we’re good, that we’re enough, that we somehow deserve the Savior’s love.

I’ve heard this lie before in bits and pieces, but always mixed with that sliver of truth that caused me to question, Maybe they didn’t mean that the way that it sounded…

But when those who call themselves Christ-followers begin to say things like, “Jesus wouldn’t have died for you if you weren’t good enough,” when Christian leaders deny the Word of God and call sin “acceptable,” I feel a hollow in the pit of my stomach, an ache that won’t easily be ignored.

It’s a lie, my friend, a dangerous lie that leads to a false gospel, one meant to keep you enslaved rather than freeing you to be the child of God you were created to be.

The Bible is clear that we are all sinners and deserve death (Rom. 3:23, Rom. 6:23, Rom. 3:10-12, 1 Jn. 1:8-10). This false idea that we can be good enough on our own is as old as the Garden of Eden when Adam and Even attempted to cover their shame after their disobedience.

Have you fallen for this dangerous lie about your sin? Find out the truth about how we are often deceived about our so-called sin and why it matters so much. As Christians, we should be telling the full truth about sin and the gospel.

You see, when Adam and Eve disobeyed and their eyes were opened to their own sin, they immediately felt the shame of being not good enough. They recognized their offense to a holy and righteous God, even as they busied themselves trying to cover it up.

It’s our natural tendency to downplay our sin and exaggerate whatever good we can find in ourselves. It’s our natural tendency precisely because we are imperfect beings in need of a Savior, imperfect beings who wish with our whole hearts to be good, to be special, to be loved.

The irony is that we were created for exactly that kind of relationship – to love and be loved, to walk in communion with our Father God.  So when we walk away from Him and from His ways, we find ourselves an empty, needy, downright desperate people who are stubbornly determined to prove our worth, our rightness.

You and I see and hear examples of this every day, especially in these politically and morally tumultuous times. Every one wants to be right, right?

The danger that lies in calling ourselves “good enough” is twofold: it either tempts us to deny our need for a Savior in the first place, or for those who see so clearly their own imperfections, it tempts us to embrace a works-oriented salvation by wasting this one life we have trying to “earn” a status that is freely offered.

If the lie is true and we are so good that Jesus died for us, then why would we need His death?

Why would we need Him at all?

Thus the dangerous lie inverts the gospel, turns it topsy-turvy until we begin to believe that we must somehow save ourselves.

And that’s exactly what the enemy wants us to believe, my friends. He certainly doesn’t want us to acknowledge Jesus as our Rescuer and Redeemer. He certainly doesn’t want us to experience the power of a gospel that is both redemptive and transformative in our lives.

Instead, the enemy would love to keep us focused on…well…us.

Listen closely, friend, the heart-stopping beauty of the gospel is that we. are. not. enough.

We are not good.

We are not worthy.

We are helpless sinners who offend the holiness of our Almighty God.

Yes, that is who we are at our core apart from Christ, but praise God, it doesn’t stop there.

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He died for us, a gruesome, painful, suffering sort of death reserved for the worst of criminals.  He laid down his life willingly because He loves us too much to leave us as we are, hopelessly enslaved by our own sin (Jn. 8:34, Gal. 5;1. Acts 13:39)

What’s so beautiful about such a horrifying death?  It’s beautiful because He sacrificed for all of us, for the worst version of us, for the hidden parts that we don’t dare show to another human being because we can barely admit to ourselves the ugliness of what lies within us.

He died even for the worst of humanity – the kind of people who do things that make us sick to our stomachs. Yes, He died for them, too.

The dangerous lie about your so-called sin doesn’t lead you or others to salvation, friend. It leads you to more of the same-old, same-old – trying to cover up the darkeness within that we don’t want anyone else to see, that we won’t even admit to ourselves.

Even we who are already in Christ fall for the dangerous lie from time to time.

We fall for the lie when we tell ourselves this one little sin won’t hurt.

We fall for the lie when we abuse grace.

We fall for the lie when we choose the world’s wisdom over God’s Holy Word.

We fall for the lie when we tell ourselves we have to earn His approval.

I’m tired of falling for this dangerous lie, and seeing others fall for it, too. How about you?

Let’s start telling the whole truth instead.

Let’s tell how great the love of Jesus is, but let’s not leave out how sinful we are. If we leave out our sin, we deny the full power of the gospel. After all, how can one save someone who doesn’t need saving?

Let’s remind each other of our position in Christ – fully loved, fully accepted, always cherished, continually pursued - but let’s make it clear that these labels are for those who have actually accepted Christ. Otherwise, we unintentionally teach others to believe what is not yet true for them.

Let’s stop teaching others to be confident in themselves and teach them to be confident in Christ instead.

Let’s not be afraid to admit the depth of our own sin because when we do, we’ll fall even more in love with the Savior who chose us first, who died for us even when we despised Him and His ways.

Let’s be willing to count ourselves a needy and desperate people, hungry for a righteousness that comes from God alone and not ourselves (Eph. 2:8-9).

Let’s quit telling dangerous lies about our so-called sin.

All because of Jesus,

Jen

Sharing with: Grace and Truth

 

What You Need to Know about Your Work-in-Progress Status

It’s Friday and you’ve survived another week, maybe even another month. Sometimes you wonder how much longer you can keep at it, how much longer you can grind your way through the hard work we call life.

And some days, the hard work defeats us, owns us, and we become less than – less of a wife, less of a mother, less of a daughter of the King, less than we truly desire to be.

We’re tempted then to blame the weariness, the dead weight we’ve been dragging for so long, on our hectic lives.

I’m just too busy.

The phrase slips into my mind so easily, yet I know it’s only a half-truth. Yes, I’ve been busy, but not just with the family schedule. My mind has been busy, too – busy with worries, thoughts, plans, dreams, and even dissatisfaction.

We’re weary women, you and me, and we long for some space to smooth down our frayed edges and quiet our souls, yet we’ve somehow lost the way.

If I’m honest, I have to admit that my biggest problem isn’t my hectic schedule, though. No – the biggest problem is that when my schedule is crazy, my perfectionism and need to control kicks into overdrive. I’m tempted to think if I just work harder and longer, then I can keep myself afloat. 

If I just do everything right….

Unfortunately, I’m not perfect and neither are you. No matter how hard we try, we’re bound to fail at something along the way.

And fail, I have.

I’ve been a grumpy mama and a distracted wife. I’ve offended others in my haste and frustration. I’ve neglected to connect to the only Power Source who can really keep me going in the tough times. I’ve been trying way too hard to do something I cannot possibly do on my own, and boy, is it painful!

Why do we do this to ourselves, my sisters in Christ?  Why do we expect the impossible rather than resting in what we already know to be true?

~I’m sharing three of my favorite truths to fight against the pull perfectionism over at my friend Kaylene’s blog today. It would make my day if you’d hop on over there to find out what you really need to know about your work-in-progress status (and how to get a freebie)!

Sometimes you wonder how much longer you can grind your way through the hard work we call life. You feel too busy, like you're always failing at one thing or another. What you really need to know are these 3 truths about your work-in-progress status.

 

 

Sharing with: Grace and Truth

 

 

How to Overcome a Bad Day

Some days just getting started in the morning is the most difficult challenge we’ll face all day long.  It’s hard to overcome a bad day, especially when it starts out rough from the very beginning!

You know, the days when:

  • the kids wake up way too early
  • you feel overwhelmed by your to-do list
  • you didn’t get enough sleep
  • you’re so grumpy you feel out of control
  • it’s dreary outside
  • all you want to do is get back in your comfy bed and hide

Overcoming a bad day seems nearly impossible once it has already started!

What do you do when you wake up with zero motivation?

How do you get past a grumpy mood so early on in the day?

What do you do when you wake up with zero motivation?  How do you get past a grumpy mood so early on in the day? Try these 10 tips for turning a bad day around.

10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Morning (and overcome a bad day):

1. Go to bed earlier the night before! I know, I know – that’s the most obvious advice ever.   But it’s true.  When the twins were infants, I forced myself to go to bed not long after they did. I knew that if I didn’t go to bed right away, the next day would be miserable and difficult.  However, now that they are a little older, I’ve gotten out of the habit of early bedtime.  One of my work-in-progress goals is to go to bed earlier so that I can get out of bed earlier the next morning, (overcome the bad day before it even starts)!

2. Shower (or at least splash some cold water on your face). I know there are many mornings that showering first thing just isn’t an option, especially if you have little ones in the house.  I have found that on the days when I have to wait for my shower (or even go without), washing my face goes a long way toward helping my sleepy eyes stay open. The more awake I feel, the easier it is to overcome a bad day.

3. Spend time…

To read the rest, follow me over to Sharing Redemption’s Stories here!

You woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, and apparently the little people who live with you did, too. All you want is a few more minutes of sleep, but the to-do list beckons. How will you overcome the rough start? Try one of these 10 tips to jumpstart your morning!

 

 

 

 

The Truth About a Faith That Stumbles on Water

A few weeks ago I posted the verse below from Galatians 6:9 about not growing weary of doing good, which has become my anchor in this season of busy schedules and church planting challenges. It’s perfect for this season because it easily applies to every area of my life in which I desire to remain steadfast.

Do not grow weary of setting aside time to abide in the Vine.

Do not grow weary of loving and listening to my husband.

Do not grow weary of training up my children.

Do not grow weary of being a good friend and neighbor.

Do not grow weary of keeping my home tidy.

Do not grow weary of eating healthy and exercising even when….maybe especially when… the scale doesn’t budge.

Do not grow weary of…

The list could extend for pages, really.

We've all heard the story of Peter walking on water, yet we often focus on the miracle itself rather than what it teaches us about faith. We want victorious faith - the kind that leaps and soars. But sometimes what we really need is a faith that stumbles on water. Click through to read more about why you need this kind of faith! Why You Need a Faith that Stumbles on Water

 

So, I posted this verse on the blog facebook page and after seeing it there a few times, kind of forgot about it.

And wouldn’t you know that after weeks of not having a single new visitor (and very few actual attendees), we had not one… not two… but three unexpected guests last Sunday! In fact, one couple has been invited nearly every week by my persistent husband since the church plant opened way back during Easter.

There’s more. After prayer walking that same Sunday afternoon, we had almost a dozen extra visitors during our bread ministry that week and actually ran out of bread!

Do you think maybe the Lord was trying to teach us something? ;)

Here’s the thing: Sometimes we’ve prayed for something so fervently, and for so long, that we quit waiting expectantly. And then when the answer comes, when the need is met, we fail to recognize the significance.

As a daughter of the Most High, I often grow childishly impatient. I want an answer right now. I want clarity. I want an inkling of the Father’s plan. I want some sort of tangible evidence that we are on the right path.

If I’m honest, I want miracles.

And this is where I can most relate to Peter, who asked to walk on water with Jesus and then stumbled, nearly drowning in his own doubt.

Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  Mt. 14:28-29

I’m sure that first step was a mountaintop experience, a spiritual high like none other. I’m sure Peter was elated, soaring on faith-wings that yearned to stretch wider and swoop higher!

Yes, I’m doing it. I’m doing it!

I’m equally certain that the floundering steps that followed were terrifying.

Maybe it felt like too big of a leap of faith. Maybe the wind and waves increased in size and ferocity. For whatever reason, his confidence wavered.

Wait, am I really doing this? What if I can’t keep it up?  What if my faith is too small?

But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Mt. 14:30-31

What right did Peter have to walk on water in the first place?

Who was he to make such a bold request?

He was no one.

A nobody.

Yet in the eyes of Jesus, he was worth an abundant amount of time, effort, and instruction. He was worth forgiving even as he was busy betraying.

And before Jesus left this earth, He claimed His Church would be built upon Peter. Imperfect Peter with the imperfect faith (Mt. 16:18).

You see, friends, we need a faith that leaps – yes, we do, but we also need a faith that stumbles on water.

We've all heard the story of Peter walking on water, yet we often focus on the miracle itself rather than what it teaches us about faith. We want victorious faith - the kind that leaps and soars. But sometimes what we really need is a faith that stumbles on water. Click through to read more about why you need this kind of faith! Why You Need a Faith that Stumbles

We need that sudden sinking, that floundering fear that drives us straight into the arms of our Savior. Because when we are weak, then we are strong (2 Cor. 12:10).

It’s when we begin to think that we can do it on our own, when that smidgen of self-righteousness and self-sufficiency sneaks its way in, that  we should truly be frightened. That truth has never been more clear to me than these last few years of struggle.

Friends, if I only talked about the faith that leaps, I’d be remiss.

I’d be painting only half of the picture.

The truth is that these last few months have been full of walking-on-water moments followed by sudden sinking and ultimately a return to the truth that trumps all others – we need Him.

We need our Father God.

We cannot do it alone as much as our perfectionism preaches to us that we can, for even our very faith comes from the Lord and not ourselves (Eph.2:8-9).

We need to keep believing that He will “show up” for us. We need to keep waiting expectantly. We need to look for the work-in-progress He is completing in us.

So, if you’ve had some of those moments of stumbling on the water lately, take heart and look to Jesus just as Peter did.

And in the words of Toby Mac,

“Keep walkin’.”

Jen :)

Sharing with: Grace and Truth, Faith Filled Friday, Tell His Story

Why You Need to Take a Leap of Faith ~ and a Giveaway!

Sometimes, … no quite often, God asks us to do things that make us incredibly uncomfortable.  And like the shy kid who hates reading in front of the class, we have a choice to make.

Will we follow, take the leap of faith?

Or will we back away from the edge in fear and miss our chance to really soar?

The Father has been sending me quite the message about fear lately, and I know He’s sending some of you that same message, too.

Fear not.

It’s the same message from three years ago when I typed out my first public confession here in this space.  You see, I thought that blogging would be a less terrifying, safer way to obey the Lord in using this gift of writing for His glory.  I think about that now and just laugh because there is nothing less scary or safe about writing about the hard things in life.

There’s nothing safe about writing how you sometimes feel unloved, or you sometimes fail at loving others.  There’s nothing safe about writing out your own sin for the whole world to read.

Listen to me, friends, there’s nothing safe about sharing your story, whatever it might be, but there’s nothing quite as beautiful either because when you do, you get to hear “me, too” and “I needed that” and “thank you.”  You find out there are so many other work-in-progress women out there in the world who struggle through the same life lessons as you.

You learn that while you set out to encourage and exhort others through this thing called writing, your Father set out to encourage and exhort you.

But the most beautiful part?

You get to take part in God’s story.

That’s why you need a faith that leaps because when we obey, when we take that risk of being foolish for the sake of Christ, we join in the work of reaching others for His Name. And there is nothing more difficult yet infinitely more rewarding than that, is there?

 

When we reach the edge of the cliff the Lord leads us to, we have two choices: we can either back away in fear, or we can take a leap of faith. What leap is He asking you to take?  Why You Need a  Faith that Leaps

 

Is it worth it, this leap of faith?

Yes, a thousand times yes.

It’s worth it, friends.

That hard thing He wants you to do? That person you need to talk to? That story you need to share? That sin you need to confess? That future that He wants you to leap in to?

Take the leap, friend.

And I’m not talking about the feel-good, positive-vibes leap of faith in yourself. I’m not talking about the dream-your-own-dreams, you-can-do-it, make-your-own-destiny kind of leap.

I’m talking about the leap of faith that asks you to deny yourself and take up your cross. The leap of faith that scares the pants off of you because you’re fairly certain you are not capable on your own.  The leap of faith that is only possible because you serve the God of the impossible.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, andtake up his cross and follow Me.” Mt. 16:24 (NASB)

I’m talking about a leap of faith with its object and focus as the Creator of the Universe, the God who holds you in the palm of His hand, the One who will never leave you nor forsake, who plans to prosper you and not to harm you.

Take that leap of faith, friend.

To do otherwise is to willfully choose disobedience.

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Heb. 11:6 (NASB)

Choose faith and find yourself in awe of the Lord who works in and through you!

Jen :)

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It was a big week for Being Confident of This!

The facebook page reached 1,000 likes earlier last week, and with the Father’s help (because many, many times I wanted to just quit), we also passed the three-year mark here at the blog.  So, to celebrate this blogiversary and God’s faithfulness, let’s have a giveaway of some of my favorite Christian living resources! You won’t say no to that, right? ;)

Enter for your chance to win four amazing Christian Living resources!  Christian Living Giveaway at Being Confident of This

What I’m giving away to the winner:

By This Name by John Cross

This is our preferred Creation-to-Christ resource for strengthening anyone’s understanding of the Bible as a whole. It is our go-to tool for evangelism, discipleship, and so forth.

Every Wife’s Choice by Sarah Fairchild

My favorite resource for every marriage (and not just because it’s written by my talented sister)! Sarah delves into the greek roots of the famous First Corinthians 13 passage on love to reveal truths about the choices we have in loving our husbands. Packed with humorous anecdotes, this read will both challenge and encourage you as a wife.

Praying the Promises of the Cross by Arabah Joy

I had the privilege of working on the graphics for this printable prayer journal (pdf version).  Each day contains a brief yet powerful devotional reading about the promises of the cross, a scripture to read and write out, and a section to write out your own prayer.

Philippians 1:6 Printable from me

This 8×10 print will remind you of your work-in-progress status and the hope you have in Christ to one day be complete!  Be sure to hang it where you will see it often. :)

Okay, time to enter – and don’t forget to share this around so your friends can enter, too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Being Confident of This makes use of affiliate links. For more information, please see the homepage. Thank you for helping to support this blog!

Sharing with: Grace and Truth, Faith Filled Friday, Coffee for Your Heart

The One Time You Want to Be a Fool

I have a little confession to make:  I am afraid to fail, to look a fool.

Recently I realized I’ve been afraid to get excited about our church plant opening in less than two weeks.  Yes, me, a church planter’s wife. Afraid.

It all sounded so exciting back in the beginning and even leading up to the planning for our opening Sunday. But as the time draws nearer, I feel that familiar fear creeping up on me. What if we fail?

You know that fear, don’t you, friend?

Often we fear to take important steps forward in God’s plan for our lives because we might end up looking foolish if things don’t work out the way we think they will.

So we remain paralyzed, stuck.

I believe it’s the enemy’s favorite tactic when God’s people set out to serve and obey Him.  If he can overwhelm us with fear, then maybe we’ll freeze in place or start stepping backwards instead of forwards. Maybe we’ll even turn around, tuck tail, and run like Jonah in the opposite direction.

Maybe we won’t want to be fools for Christ.

But what the enemy doesn’t want you to know is that no effort is wasted when it is done in the name of the Lord. There is no such thing as failure in God’s economy when we walk forward in obedience!

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Gal. 6:9 NASB

Often the Lord asks us to do things that just don't make sense to the world or even fellow believers.  Throughout the Bible we see the evidence of such "fools for Christ." Are we willing to risk that label? And if so, what are the consequences? The One Time You Want to be a Fool

Consider these biblical “fools for Christ”:

Abraham sacrificed security and uprooted his entire family with no final destination in mind, then became the father of nations.

While building the ark, Noah preached for 100 years with zero converts, but his family was saved.

Daniel spent the night in the lions’ den, risking death rather than giving up prayer and changed the law of the land. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked into a fiery furnace rather than bow to an idol and influenced the heart of the King of Babylon.

Mary faced a world of scorn for the miraculous conception of the child within her, yet she gave birth to the Son of God.

And consider Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who had every right to strike his enemies dead rather than suffer on the cross for us.  Even as he strained for breath, those around him taunted:

And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.”  Luke 23:35 NASB

If Christ Himself was willing to look the fool for laying down His own life, why are we so hesitant to do so when laying down ours?

Why am I afraid to look a fool for the sake of His call?

Pride.

My own stinkin’ pride.

I’m learning that I’ve got to get over that silly pride issue if I want to be an effective servant of the Lord.  And you need to, also, friend.

This quote from recently departed Justice Scalia really speaks to me:

“God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools … and he has not been disappointed. … If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.”

Pride is the enemy of Courage.

If we want to be courageous, we must be willing to put our pride at risk, yes?

Listen, friends, maybe we can’t all have the influence of men like Abraham or Justice Scalia, or women like Mary, but we can all be everyday fools for Christ.

We can be fools for Christ by…

  • choosing forgiveness when the world would hold onto anger
  • raising children God’s way even if those around us scoff
  • remaining in a wounded marriage when friends advise divorce
  • sacrificing time to live on mission right where we are
  • following Christ into ministry even though we feel inadequate
  • packing up and moving when He says to go
  • writing when God says write or speaking when led to speak even if we’ve never done it before

We can be fools for Christ in a million other ways by simply following Him moment by moment, day by day.

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose” Jim Elliot

We can leave jobs, and homes, and families, and possessions, all for the sake of Christ and count it as gain! We can look naysayers in the eye and say with confidence, “I aim to follow the Lord – that’s the best I can do.”

“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ…” Phil. 3:7-8 NASB

Don’t be afraid to lay down your life like a fool no matter what anyone else has to say about it because the rewards are both now and for eternity.

What is it that the Lord wants you to do for Him?

Will you follow no matter the cost?

Be fools for Christ!

Jen :)

Sharing with: Tell It To Me Tuesdays, Wholehearted Wednesdays, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Grace and Truth

Walking Through the Pain

I’ve been walking through some significant pain this week – the kind of pain that just makes you want to up and quit altogether!  My legs ache with extra fluid, keeping me awake at night.

The pain started when I tried to push a little too hard with my workout routine.

Instead of my typical brisk walking, I thought I would jog in intervals, just for a few minutes at a time. I want to reach that goal-line so badly on this weight-loss journey, and picking up the pace seemed like a good idea at the time.

Even though my knees didn’t hurt at all while I was walk/jogging, the pain the next day made me unable to even walk up steps with my left knee at all.  Ever since, I’ve been walking through the pain but the injury has certainly slowed me down. Now I have to walk longer just to reach my Fitbit step goal, let alone get in extra mileage.

I’m fighting weight-loss discouragement.

I thought I was strong enough, but I became impatient and pushed a little too hard to reach my goals.

I ran ahead in the journey, so to speak.

Walking Through Pain 1, walking-through-pain-in-life, trials, discouragement, persevering, weight-loss journey

We often walk through pain in life, not just physical pain, but emotional and spiritual pain, also. In fact, the Word tells us to expect it!

 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you..” 1 Peter 4:12

Yes, that’s often how it feels at first, isn’t it – a strange thing? We’re walking down the path of life and suddenly an insurmountable obstacle stands in our way!

And because we dislike pain, we try to rush the process in order to escape the difficulty. We want a quick fix! Amen? :)

Or perhaps in our attempt to rush, we start pretending that there is no pain – there is no problem. We deny the truth of where we stand in our journey because we so desperately want to be further along in the process. We don’t want to keep persevering. Instead, we want to be able to say, “I have overcome!”

So we buy into the lie.

We hide our heads in the sand; we put on our rose colored glasses and call sin and self-reliance “okay.” We convince ourselves that we’re okay, they’re okay, it’s okay – whatever the situation might be.

Walking Through Pain, persevereing, weight-loss journey, trials in life, walking through a painful trial, suffering, keeping our eyes on Jesus in the midst of trial, waiting on the Lord

But often the fix isn’t quick. Often the lesson drags out and pain is prolonged.

Sometimes the best way forward is to take a step back, to slow down long enough to build some real spiritual muscle.

When we deceive ourselves into believing we are further ahead than we really are in our current trial, we step into dangerous territory. We open ourselves to injury or to trickery on behalf of the Enemy. The best way for him to ensnare us is to convince us that the way ahead is clear, is it not? To keep us from crying out to our Father for rescue?

The trick is not to be defeated by the pain, but to persevere in spite of it. Not to be deceived by sin nature nor the Enemy, but to humble ourselves before the Lord and allow Him to lift us up in the proper time.

“…but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” 1 Peter 4:13

We must slow down enough to build the muscle, but not enough to the point of quitting altogether.

We must be truthful about where we are at, so that we can look to our Savior for the grace and strength to get where we want to be. Wait for the Lord to signal “full steam ahead!”

We may not get “there” as quickly as we’d like to. We may take two steps forward and one back, but we will reach our destination eventually as long as we stay focused on the Sustainer of Life!

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

My sisters in Christ, let’s be content with the pace the Father sets for us. Let’s not rush ahead of the lesson. Let’s not grow weary in doing good nor grow discouraged by setbacks. Instead, let’s persevere in this journey.

Run that race.

Walk that race.

Whatever your pace may be,

Keep pressing on!

Jen :)

Sharing with: Grace and Truth, A Look at the Book

It Is Finished

“Yeah, tomorrow is Good Friday because you get a break from school,” our six-year-old daughter quips.

“No, sweetie, that’s not why we call it Good Friday. We call it Good Friday because that’s the day Jesus took our punishment by dying on the cross and paying for our sins,” I explain.

“Oh, that’s the day Jesus died?  That’s sad.” She grows solemn.  And we talk about it then, right there at the supper table, we talk about how He knew the suffering He would endure, yet He obeyed the Father anyways.

I think of them, His followers, the disciples, and how that day must have seemed anything but good to them. I think of the fear they must have experienced, the sorrow, the confusion. I wonder if they felt hopeless and helpless.

That’s what we humans do when the skies around us grow dark and suffering multiplies – we despair.

It’s our first response to most difficult situations. Like the disciples, we fail to look ahead, for we only see the present, the now.

Given the death and destruction of that day, some may wonder why we now call it Good Friday.  Certainly Jesus' followers wouldn't have called it a good day, yet today we call it Good Friday. Why? It Is Finished Thoughts on Good Friday

Yet on Good Friday we call the darkest day of their lives “good”  because we can see now what they could not then. We have the broader perspective, the bigger picture. We understand that the pain, the suffering, the darkness and death that day brought were the beginnings of a bigger and brighter glory than any soul had ever known before!

But the death came first, before new life.

Isn’t it the same even now? We must die to self in order to live for Him. And it’s scary and dark and painful, but it’s oh-so-necessary.  When we find ourselves on the other side, we can look back and call it “good.”

Given the death and destruction of that day, some may wonder why we now call it Good Friday.  Certainly Jesus' followers wouldn't have called it a good day, yet today we call it Good Friday. Why? It Is Finished Thoughts on Good Friday

 

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” Jn 10:9-11

And on the other side of the cross painted red, we who believe can call that darkest, death-filled day Good Friday because…

with one fell swoop, one simple yet agonizing act of obedience, sin and death were defeated once and for all!

Given the death and destruction of that day, some may wonder why we now call it Good Friday.  Certainly Jesus' followers wouldn't have called it a good day, yet today we call it Good Friday. Why? It Is Finished Thoughts on Good Friday

So that we might know Him!

It is Finished.

Jen :)

I’m joining the Five Minute Friday crew this week!  We all gather at Kate Motaung’s place and free-write for five crazy minutes – no planning, no editing, no stressing. :)  Come join us if you like!

Also sharing with: Grace and Truth

Come Away With Me

Weary.

Burdened.

Just plain tired of being tired.

Sometimes we don’t realize how worn out we are until we have a chance to get away, a chance to rest, a chance to “be still.”  We don’t realize we’ve become weary in following our Father. We don’t realize we’ve become weary in serving others.

This past week we took some rest at a cabin in the woods during our children’s Spring Break.

I noticed that I didn’t feel as needy this year as I did last. Last year I was nearly desperate for some time away. Life seemed so very overwhelming in many ways then. And it’s not that life never feel overwhelming now, either, but it was different then.

I wanted relief.

I yearned for escape.

I thought that by “getting away” from it all, I might find peace from life’s problems. But those problems just followed me wherever I went.

I was looking for rest in the wrong places.

Come Away With Me, Rest, relaxation, get-away, finding-rest-in-Jesus

This year hasn’t been quite so difficult thus far, in spite of the flu-turned-bronchitis-add-to-that-mono months of December and January.  I have only one word for the difference – contentment. In general, I am content.

I’m certain the difference can be attributed to my walk with the Lord, which has been a little closer and a lot sweeter lately. I’m learning that no matter what comes my way, He is my only source of life, love, strength, shelter, and so much more.

In Him, I find rest.

Come-Away-With-Me, finding-rest-in-Jesus,  in-need-of-rest, feeling-weary

 

It’s that rest born from trust that leads to peace and joy beyond our understanding.

It’s a supernatural rest that doesn’t make sense using man’s logic because from the outside perspective our lives might look a little hectic. And the world would tell us, take some time for yourself. Quit serving others and serve self. You deserve it. You neeeeed it.

But I hear another voice that says take up your cross and follow me.

And just when I’m feeling overwhelmed that sweet reminder comes that by His side the burden will also be light.

Don’t get me wrong, now. I’m not against rest and I certainly need physical rest at times myself. But even more than physical rest, I need spiritual rest.

Do you have it, my sisters in Christ?

Do you have rest? If not, it’s yours for the taking and you can find it by abiding in Him moment by moment, day by day, trust building upon trust.

How-to-find-rest, Come to Me, Come-Away-With-Me. finding-rest-in-Jesus, I-need-rest, feeling-weary

Sometimes we need a rest.

But sometimes we just need Jesus!

Jen :)

While we were away, I had the opportunity to spend time taking pictures.  Lately I’m often reminded of the power of the Cross.  It’s because of the cross we can cease striving and be still. It’s because of the cross we can rest in the gift that is Grace.

Sharing with: Grace and Truth

 

A New Perspective on Setbacks

Yesterday, as I drove home from a good workout, I was feeling so thankful for some progress in regaining strength after my recent extended illness. I was also proud of myself for exercising every day of the week so far.  I felt joy and hope like I haven’t felt for weeks!

Victory was mine!

Just as I reached our back door, I slipped on some ice, fell forward, and banged my knees hard on the cement step.  Fear gripped my heart as I relived the tail-bone-breaking incident of what we now call Buttkill Falls.

I feared a major setback.

Eyes watering, I picked myself up and took a few tentative steps. My right knee hurt the worst, but I could still walk.  It was scraped and already bruising. As I limped into the house, the internal monologue began…

Just like Adam and Eve, the original sinners, I wanted someone to blame, and my husband was the first victim.

I can’t believe he didn’t clear off this walk all the way!  Doesn’t he know that’s not safe?! What if one of the kids fell….

But I didn’t stop there. Like the Israelites in the wilderness, free from the wrath of Egypt yet still not content, I began to question the Lord Himself.

Why, Lord? Are you really going to allow me to be injured again just when I’ve found a good rhythm with my health goals?  Why am I being punished for doing what is right? I’ve worked so hard. Why didn’t you help me, keep me from falling?

Exodus 17:2-3

So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?

But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” (empahsis mine)

As soon as the prideful thoughts entered my mind, I knew I was wrong – wrong to blame my husband, even more so, wrong to blame my Father God.  And wrong to think that my “good efforts” excused me from any sort of pain or suffering.

So you're facing a setback, and you fear things will never change for you.  And that might just be true if you let a failure stop you in your tracks. But if you want to persevere, you might need a new perspective on setbacks and what they mean. How to Have a New Perspective on Setbacks from Being Confident of This blog

You see, fear took over for a few moments.

I was afraid that another injury would keep me from meeting my health goals. I was afraid that another setback might discourage me to the point of giving up – a pattern that has repeated itself over and over again where my health is concerned.

I was afraid of failing.

I was afraid I would not be able to persevere!

Conviction stung my heart for such sinful thoughts, for my desire to lash out at someone else in my frustration.  “I just want God to help me,” I tried to reason within myself.

But perhaps He already had…

Maybe His best help was to allow me to fall.

Yes, I mean it, truly. While it’s not wrong to be excited about the my progress, the Father gently showed me that, once again,  I was beginning to rely on self alone rather than Him.

Perhaps I needed that fall to remind me that I will only conquer this battle with health and weight by His power and strength. I cannot do it on my own. Without even realizing it, I had slowly slipped back into my “can-do” attitude.

I can do it.

I’ve got this.

I don’t need You right now…

Does it sound familiar, friends? How many times a day do we catch ourselves relying on our own efforts instead of Him?

How many times do we deny the power of Christ in us, in favor of our own human strength?

How often do we place our trust in self alone?

You think I would have learned the lesson by now. He’s only been trying to teach me for the last thirty-plus years!  It’s that work-in-progress that I’m always talking about – aiming toward progress instead of perfection.

I’ll make mistakes.

You’ll make mistakes, too, friends.

Sometimes the setback is a wake-up call to our own sin.

And often the best help our Father God can offer is letting us fall, just as we have to allow our own children to fall at times.  It’s the most difficult, yet most loving thing we can do as parents, yes?

A New Perspective on Setbacks, setbacks to your goals when you face a setback, dealing with setbacks

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

He lets us fall so that we might see our need, so that we might throw off self and run to His arms instead!

He lets us fall because He loves us too much not to.

It’s the best help He can give –

helping us turn from self to Savior!

Jen :)

Side note: My knees seem to be okay, Praise the Lord! One is a little swollen and bruised, but so far only injured externally, from what I can tell. I’m incredibly thankful for His mercy.

Sharing with: Grace and Truth