The One I Love

When I thought He kept me “from”, He was actually keeping me “for.”

Last week I made a post on Instagram that reflected on the beginning of 2017 as being difficult for me. The more I thought on the last 18 months of my life, the clearer things became as I pieced together the timeline and seasons that led to a what was probably the most testing time of my life to date.

Up until the end of 2016, most of the painful and difficult situations I’d experienced up until that point were due to outside circumstances (mostly) beyond my control. Loss, illness, an uncertainty of the future, etc. In those situations, it’s easy to cry out to God because he’s the only option you’ve got. It’s also easy to pin the blame on someone or something besides yourself when things are outside of your control.

Through a series of circumstances in the fall of 2016, I came to a hard realization that I did not fully trust God with my life. His will was good as long as it was in line with mine. Obviously, most people, myself included, would not willingly admit to having this thought, but my actions spoke that even when my words didn’t.

It was probably the most emotionally turbulent I’d ever been, including my emo kid stage in high school (which should tell you a lot ha). Looking back, I realized it was because I had all this pent-up frustration and nowhere to put the blame except myself. My life was good. God was good. But I had to face myself and admit that there were areas in my life that weren’t surrendered to God. I had to lay them down of my own accord, with a willing and obedient heart. Which sounds a lot more clean cut than it actually is sometimes.

At the end of the year, as I was praying through my “word of the year” for 2017, God spoke these two words to me: build and nurture. I prayed through what that meant and realized that God was calling me to cherish the season I’m in and to invest in the present. To build a foundation for my life not as one who is working for the sake of busy-work, but to build with love and care. To not be afraid to lay my heart on the line, allow myself to get invested heart and soul with where I’m planted.

So, as 2017 arrived and began to pass by, that was my challenge. Work hard and work well – full of love. The first few months were challenging. I wish I could say it was easy for me to take God at His word and accept that His ways were best. But it was a little-by-little process. It looked like making a cognitive choice every day to lay down my will, my agenda, and my own strength in order that I could pick up His.

I thank God for His grace that always met me in those moments. The more I realized that there was peace and grace with each surrender, the more trusting I became.

After a few months of taking what seemed like the same test over and over again, I one day stopped and realized that I had never been more full of gratitude in all my life. It wasn’t that I woke up one morning and my life was perfect. It was that I chose to stop and reflect and realize the goodness of God and the life He’d blessed me with.

Throughout the rest of 2017, there were so many experiences that I look back at with such fondness that I wouldn’t have gotten to experience at all if I had chosen my own will over His at the end of 2016.

To name a few of my favorites: I walked through the homes Shakespeare grew up in alongside my best friend. I was able to finally visit Canada and see Orca whales up close. I got to have my own bathroom in my house after 20 years (small but significant). I told every riddle I knew as we traveled around London sharing the gospel. I was able to be a part of an incredible writing trip to Colorado. I broke my first bone (not necessarily exciting, but definitely memorable). I spent Thanksgiving on the beach getting a tan and feeding the cute animals that inhabited our resort. I got to serve on a criminal jury (briefly – they reached a plea agreement). And so many more memories in between.

And through all of those things, my friendships with the amazing people God has blessed my life with were strengthened. With each of these adventures, I was able to learn something new about myself and God that has brought so much development to me this year.

2017 was a year of God redeeming all my “no’s” and restoring my “yes”. It was a year of God removing things from my life that I thought I needed and replacing them with things I didn’t even know I wanted. In His typical fashion, every single one of them was better than I could have imagined.

And when I thought that things couldn’t get any better, He restored and fulfilled a dream in my life that I thought had died four years ago. Completely unexpected, of no merit of my own, and at the perfect timing. “Kind” is the word that comes to mind when I think of His heart for me in that moment.

Right before Christmas, I was reflecting on all of this and heard God so clearly tell me “when you thought I was keeping you “from”, I was actually keeping you “for”.

I had felt like God was withholding, but He really was just waiting for me to look up so He could show and give me the best things I was neglecting for good things.

In the midst of all of these highlight reel moments of my year, there was still pain. There was still frustration. There will still moments when I doubted. It wasn’t the lack of hardship that made my year what it was, but an intentional choice of having a perspective of gratitude and pursuing the presence of God.

I’ve made a resolution of sorts to write more. So my goal with this post was not a well-constructed, well-articulated blog but an honest reflection of a year that took me off guard in the best way possible.

To anyone who might be reading this and to the future version of myself that will inevitably come back to this post – He’s big, He’s good, and He’s faithful.

Every sacrifice, surrender, and struggle is worth it. He’s not keeping you from, He’s keeping you FOR.

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I found me when I looked for Him

I’m happier than I’ve ever been before.

Since I was a child, I dealt with insecurity (as most do). I did not understand how to express myself. I was incapable of loving myself.  Up until rather recently, I pinned my identity on the closest things around me- my family, my school, my friends, etc. I rarely spoke up because I did not see the importance in anything I had to say.

Now I can’t shut up. I talk a lot and I talk fast (working on that last bit, I just held it all in for so long so I gotta train myself to chill out). For most of that time, it wasn’t that I did not know Jesus. It wasn’t that I wasn’t living according to His word. It’s that I wasn’t looking for Him. I was looking for me. Something that does not exist outside of Him.

About one year ago, my friend and I moved to London to serve at a church we’d never been to and live with people we’d never met. I was excited about going, not scared like I normally would have been in a situation like that. I felt like my previous 21 years of life God had been calling me up a ladder, calling me higher and higher. At the end of the ladder, I found a diving board. My fear of heights had vanished during the climb. For some wild reason, I jumped. And all to my surprise, I could swim. Since that trip, I’ve just kept jumping and jumping. Looking for higher feats to jump from. (Metaphorically speaking only. Still hate heights in real life. Again, working on it.)

When I jumped into that situation, there was no longer anything I could base my identity on. There was no self-searching. Just Him. At the end of every tear, every laugh, and every conversation, it was always Him. The more I found Him on accident, the more I searched for Him on purpose.

Although it had not been my intention to “find myself” at that time, that’s what ended up happening. Although it was more of a realization than a finding as it was all already there. I found my passions. I found my quirks. I found my voice. I found my confidence.

Now, I’m in a job I love. I am surrounded by some of the most amazing people on this planet. I love myself. And I love Jesus more than ever. The best part is- there’s always more of Him to find. With every new facet I discover, I find a new depth to my joy. I’ve found a rhythm of happiness and it revolves around Him.

So, that all being said, welcome to this blog. I’m a 22 year old who’s a massive geek and massively in love with the One who made her that way.

I don’t have all the answers. I still deal with insecurities and other struggles. I’ve just found out how to live joyously inspite of these things. 

I have had this blog for YEARS and updated sporadically. Consistency has never been one of my strengths. But I’m going to make it one. I want to share with people what I’ve learned (though it may not be much) because somehow the little things I’ve learned have led to big happiness. Hopefully they can make you happy too.

Be Strong and Work

To be honest, the past few weeks I’ve been going through a bit of an existential crisis. I had planned on staying at my job (that I loved), going and pursuing administration at the church, and doing my thing for this next year.

After a series of events, God asked me to not pursue administration. The baby I nanny was put in preschool so they didn’t really need my help anymore.

I was several hundred dollars short of finishing paying for my Scotland missions trip and had no job and no idea what to do with my life. I applied to teach at a private school but just felt that that also was not right and turned down pursuing that further. I honestly began to get a little frustrated an impatient with God because nothing was going “right”.

Let’s take it back to a few months ago. I was in London, England for a few weeks with my sister. The whole time I was there I kept thinking how I would love to take a missions trip team there or go serve at a ministry there because of endless amazing opportunities. I came back to the states with a desire to return to London and talk to my Pastor about leading a trip there next summer. Missions are my passion. I serve locally but there is something about global missions that I adore. And I know that God has called me to that and that’s another reason I was frustrated. I had been promised by God to be sent out globally but felt stuck here in my dinky little town.

I was talking to our missions director last month about taking a trip to London next summer and had been doing research to see how we could make this possible before telling my Pastor about any of it.

Almost 3 weeks ago, my Pastor was speaking at our youth church on “Stir it Up” and shaking cities and shaking up your faith so you don’t grow complacent. The whole sermon I just felt a huge weight on my heart for the city of London. The countless people that are just living their mundane lives day after day riding around on the tube with their heads down. They need stirring. Towards the end of the sermon, God gave me a vision and in the vision I was standing in front of Him and He handed me a London snow globe that the snow had stopped falling on. It was all settled on the bottom. As I was looking at it He said to me “I need you to turn the city upside down.” I tipped the little snow globe and watched as the snow fell all over the city again and felt the most amazing peace and satisfaction in that moment. I knew the snow was signifying the love God wanted to pour out over the city.

Later on that month I was researching churches in the London area and YWAM bases there. I even emailed YWAM and inquired about if they hosted teams or individual missionaries. I knew it was a long shot that I could go there this fall, but I was kind of desperate at this point.

The next day I was talking to my best friend Shelbie and we were both kind of the same spot about praying where God wanted us this fall as doors kept closing. She was talking to me about how our Pastor had mentioned to her that he had a pastor friend in London who needed help at his church for a few months this summer (July/August ish). I told her to totally do it and I would go visit her and really wanted to tag along if I could. But it just didn’t seem like it was feasible and honestly I felt like something like that would be too good to be true. But, maybe if the timing worked out.

I was going to Scotland late summer so I didn’t think the timing would work anyways. I had actually wanted originally to stay in Scotland after the trip and travel back down to England but again the timing did not work.

That night I went to bed a little hopeful. I told myself even if I couldn’t go with Shelbie, I would try to go back this fall. But it would have to be in September because the One Direction concert is August 24th and I really didn’t want to give up my tickets (priorities am I right ha). I fell asleep with dreams of walking along the Thames again sharing the gospel.

I woke up with those dreams made real. Literally. I woke up and my phone was buzzing with texts. Dustin (my pastor) had texted Shelbie again and long story short asked her if she had thought about London anymore because he felt that it would be a good opportunity for her. But, he said, he wanted to switch it to September and send two people! WHAT ARE THE ODDS! So she told him everything and I texted him as well and we all began to get extremely excited about what this could be.

I didn’t want to get too ahead of myself so I immediately opened my Bible and asked God to speak clearly to me that this was something I needed to do. The first thing I opened up to was Haggai 2:4 “Be strong… and work fro I am with you”. I don’t want to waste words going into all the meaning the words “Be Strong” have on my life but it is my life verse (Joshua 1:9). It means the world to me. God has had this work spoken into my life in the most critical tipping points of my life. I have it tattooed on my wrists in Hebrew. This specific verse with “be strong” was the exact verse God gave me when I was praying about going to Thailand last year and doubting my call to missions. The verse goes on to talk about how He will show His glory in all the nations and how the present glory will be greater than latter glories. it was perfect timing. God timing. That was the final confirmation for me.

I told them I was in. So early September we will be spending two and a half months together in London serving at a local church and sharing the gospel right in the middle of London. The fact that I not only get to to go but God is sending me with my best friend blows my mind. He is SO faithful to me even when I get so easily frustrated or impatient and bratty.

Other cool little things that God also did this past week:

  • I have less than $100 left to pay off for Scotland
  • My parents bought me a new (used) car
  • I found a job that is AMAZING and I didn’t think these people would hire me since I plan on being gone for 2.5 months in the fall and called and told them about it and literally said to Shelbie “it will ONLY be God if they hire me” (they specifically said they were looking for someone who could commit to sticking around) but when I called they said they were super intent on hiring me and would be willing to work around my absence. WHAT!
  • My mom bought an iPad that she said I can have if I teach her how to use one because she will get her own from the school come fall (I was wanting to buy one to take to London to read on and stuff!)

I don’t mean at all that God’s favor IS material things or opportunities, but He has certainly used them. And to me it wasn’t about the stuff or the things, it was that He saw all the little desires of my heart and was closing doors I thought were “good” to give me what was BEST because He loves me so much.

I’m so dumb sometimes but God is so faithful to me anyways. Wow.

I will fight for the heart of my King or die trying

“I didn’t say I would be homeless; I said I didn’t care if I became homeless. I want to change the world. Can’t you just hear my dream?” – Mariah McManus (The Barbarian Way)

Started reading the Barbarian Way in internship. If you haven’t read it- I’m only on Ch 1 and it’s phenomenal. To put it simply, I finished reading that first chapter wanting to give away all my things and just do whatever I could to bless people and fight to follow the heart of my King or die trying.

So today at dinner before mvmnt, Shelbs, Laura, Cindy and I were discussing Barbaric ideas and how it would feel so good to leave out on a trip with nothing in mind and nothing in hand except for to make His kingdom known.

During preservice prayer, I was thinking about this and really felt strongly to lead a mini trip of this sort over winter break since we have like a month off.

I want to get in 2 cars with 8 people total. Each car with a full tank of gas. Each person with max $50 and only what they can fit in a backpack and just leave Allen having no clue where to go and asking God to lead us as we drive.

When we get to said location(s), I just want to do anything I can do share the love of Jesus. Whether it’s spending time chatting with a homeless man and taking him out to eat, or paying for someones groceries, or praying for strangers, healing people, preaching on the side of the street, praying over areas, spending time with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christs, meeting other ministries- WHATEVER it could possibly be, I want to do it.

All while not having any idea where we’ll sleep that night or what we’ll eat for the next meal. The trip would last between 5-7 days.

It sounds not as “drop everything” as I’d want it to be but I’m still praying about it. Maybe switching it to $25? Who knows.

Regardless of what it entails, I am excited to see what God will do with this idea.

Earnestly I Seek Thee

I’m still incredibly behind on posting these updates, and for that, I apologize.

Last week was full of excitement, sadness, breakthrough, frustration, and desperation.

Monday started off with finding out that Brittany is having a baby! I am so excited to have another Mvmnt baby running around  that I get to babysit! That day we also built a tent blind folded for our team interactions class which was surprisingly difficult but it managed to get accomplished. After learning about the book of Joshua I went home, read poetry, and gave candy to cute little trick-or-treaters.

Tuesday had so many different emotions but overall was a really hard day for me. The morning started off awful with Bailey (the dog of the host-home I’m staying at) dying. That situation was so incredibly rough for them and I was super bummed too because she felt like my puppy too. I miss her a ton. Right after that we stepped into intern prayer and it was a spiritually exhausting one working on building up our spirits and pressing in to new levels. For class time Pastor Dustin taught a two part class. The first part was him just being super real with us about what’s been going on in his life and about opposition that comes in ministry, second half was about public speaking. Both parts were really good and very raw and brought us to a new level as a group.

Before we headed off to Sulphur Springs to help minister/back up Dustin speaking at Unleashed, we had a group lunch at Chilli’s. That was our first official roadtrip of the internship and on the way there I had a migraine like nobody’s business.

We arrived there and had preservice prayer and God just began to speak to me about different things and reveal a lot of scripture to me in a new light. Then after prayer, Perla tells me, Shelbie, and Ryan that Dustin wants us to share for 3 minutes each before he speaks. Never in my life have I been afraid of public speaking until this internship haha. We had about an hour to prep and I decided to preach off of a section of my book review- the part about Nehemiah finding strength in God’s joy in obedience.

It went pretty well I think but I was super nervous, but I got it done and after that my Tuesday got better. Ministry time was powerful and the ride home was a million times better than the ride there. There was a lot of dancing, a sonic run, rapping, and more dancing.

Wednesday was another rough day because we had a 2 hour test over the Pursuit of Holiness. I love writing and I love that book, but that was an incredibly long test. Then during prayer, everyone was crying and getting touched by God and I was not. Not like in a jealous way at all, but it was just rather frustrating to not have breakthrough and feel like you’re doing something wrong.

However, preservice prayer was really powerful and was an amazing kick-off to that weeks services. That night I saved Sammy’s life (or elbow) with my first aid skill, made some new mvmnt student friends and PD brought a powerful word! I also finally got to talk to him about some things that have been going on lately and about the call God’s recently given me (more deets to come later), and asked him for the “hard word”. Overall, the conversation went a lot better than I thought it would and I love my pastor a whole bunch.

Thursday Ben taught a super convicting class about daily disciplines and hearing the voice of God. Even though I had been having a rough week, we really broke through a barrier during Thursday night service.

Pastor D was preaching both at Mvmnt Plano and Allen that night, and even though I thought he’d be super tired after preaching in Plano he came to Allen full of energy and reading to flow. It was a super powerful message about having desperation, seeking Him, knowing Him, and trusting in Him with your call.

Ministry time was incredible, the students, staff, and band were all rocked by God in a new way. After a couple tough weeks of Thursday nights, we hit our breaking point and pressed in to what God had for us. It was worth the wait for sure.

The Joy of Holiness

Here’s a book review I did on the Pursuit of Holiness about joy for the internship 🙂

Pursuit of Holiness

 Chapter 17 Book Talk – The Joy of Holiness

Verses on Joy

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” – Romans 14:7

“I will praise you, LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.
The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:1-4

Drudgery vs. Joy

1)   Often, living a holy lifestyle is associated with restrictions and rules that bring you down and don’t allow you to have any “fun”. But, God intended obedience to His will to result in a lifestyle of joy.

Obedience Linked to Joy

1)      In John 10:15-11 Jesus links love and joy to obedience of the Lord’s commands:

  • “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

2)      Only those who are actively living a lifestyle of holiness and obedience can experience the joy that comes from God.

How Does Holiness Produce Joy?

1)      Fellowship with God

  • “You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand” – Psalm 16:11
  • God shares His joy with those who walk in fellowship with Him. You become close to God by obeying his commands, and when we sin and stray for them – we lose His presence and His joy to replace it with temporal joy of the world.
  • Example: David and Bathsheba. He walked away from God then not only prayed for repentance, but for restoration.
  • “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me” – Psalm 51:12

–          What that means to me: I think we are overwhelmed with such a joy in salvation because that’s when we’re most submitted to God. Submission leads to obedience, and by handing over complete control to Him in that moment and emptying ourselves out, He comes to fills us up with the joy of His presence.

–          If you want God to restore you to the joy of your salvation, examine your walk of holiness and get back into submission/obedience. “A life of disobedience cannot be a life of joy” (Bridges 150)

  • Submission

–          Obedience requires a lot of submitting. By submitting to Him we must trust that everything we put in His hands will benefit us and contribute to our eternal joy.

–             Example: John 3:22- John is talking to his disciples after they asked what he thought of everyone going to Jesus to get baptized instead of him. His response was “You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.”

–             John knew he was only holding onto these things temporarily and that they belonged to the One that created them. He was delighted to see the alignment come to pass- it completed his joy. He knew that for obedience and joy, Christ must be exalted above ourselves.

  • Our experience of God’s love is linked to our obedience to Him

–          His love isn’t dependent on our obedience, but our experience of it is

–          God’s love precedes and follows our obedience

–          By preceding our obedience it “creates in us an eager desire to keep Christ’s precepts”

–          By following our obedience it “rewards us for keeping them”

  • There should be joy in your life just from knowing that you are obeying God and no longer resisting Him

–          After a long struggle between Spirit and sin, we have been set free by His grace and have conquered the sin that previously mastered us

–          Example: my personal depression/joy that came from knowing I’ve been set free from it

–          “There’s a holy laugh that consumes you when you’ve been set free from the grip of darkness. There’s a joy that overtakes you when you realize you are no longer a slave to sin.”

–          You could call it the joy of victory, but really it’s the joy of obedience.

2)      A Holy life produces the anticipated reward

  • Victory follows obedience always.

–          You’re in a fixed fight, to get the prize all you have to do is finish the race but even sometimes that can be difficult.

  • “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

–       Last Thursday I was having a really rough day and I was sitting in the sanctuary before church and God led me to this verse. It really spoke to me in that moment. God reminded me that you guys/Mvmnt students are my “great cloud of witnesses” and to just throw off all the junk that’s been hindering me from running. I love the way it says sin “so easily entangles”, it’s so true! I realized that I’d been letting stupid little things get in the way of my holiness and joy. I’ve wanted a faith boost and reading that He was the creator, and perfecter is so amazing! If we want the perseverance and holiness that Christ carried, we need to fix our eyes on Him and see how He lived. FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM He endured the shame and pain of the cross. He knew there was a prize coming. He took joy in saving billions of souls. He took joy in doing the will of the Father. He took joy in suffering. He knew what he was fighting for and rejoiced in what was to come even though His current situation was painful. We need to consider that and have the same joy in seeing students’ lives changed that Christ had being nailed to the cross for us. He endured it all so that we would not lose heart. Take heart in knowing that Jesus dealt with suffering, and even then He was fighting for your joy.

  • Just like Jesus wouldn’t let hardship throw off the anticipation of joy for getting His reward, don’t let circumstances deprive you of your anticipation.
  • Paul and Barnabas faced persecution and still were filled with joy in Acts 13:48-52

–       The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. But the Jewish leaders incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joyand with the Holy Spirit.

  • Parable of the talents

–       To the servants who multiplied their talents: “Well done good and faithful servant… enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” – Matthew 25:21,23

–       God has given us the “talent” of having the option to walk in holiness. When we are fruitful and obedient with that talent, we can anticipate walking into the joy of the Lord.

–       Before even reading the next paragraph, I was going to talk about the joy of the Lord being your strength. Author beat me to it.

  • Joy not only results from a holy life, but produces a holy life

–       The exiles returned to Jerusalem after being in captivity for 70 years under the Babylonians. They got back to their promise land to see it all torn apart. When Nehemiah was speaking to them, they had just finished rebuilding the walls of the city but that wasn’t enough. Their lives were completely in shambles. Their beloved city was ruined, they were slaves, they’d forgotten their spiritual heritage but above all, they had forgotten God. Finally, Ezra stepped up to the plate and everyone “came together” as one to hear him read out of the book of the law. He read literally all day long clearly and giving meaning to what was written so that people could understand. They had to go back to the law and the people wept because they knew they couldn’t do it on their own. They knew they’d been disobedient and that they had to get back to His law. That’s when Nehemiah steps in in Nehemiah 8:10 and says “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength”.

–       Their circumstances were already rough to begin with. I honestly almost cried a little thinking about what it’d be like to be in their position and literally having to start everything over again from square one. And on top of it all, they just got a huge slap in the face from their own disobedience. But Nehemiah knew that even though obeying God was going to be incredibly difficult, especially after so many years of disobeying, but that the joy God was going to feel seeing them return back to Him was going to make everything worth it

–       Obedience is difficult, but let the fact that it brings God joy give you strength to persevere

– If you begin to rely on your own joy to give you strength, there’s a pretty good chance you are always going to fail. Although God intends a holy life style to be joyful, it is often accompanied with sorrow and suffering and if you’re dependent on your own joy in those situations, you will make no progress. But if you are dependent on the joy of the LORD for strength, whenever you are in obedience you will always be able to persevere.

  • “The Christian living in disobedience also lives devoid of joy and hope. But when he begins to understand that Christ has delivered him from the reign of sin, when he begins to see that he is united to Him who has all power and authority, and that it is possible to walk in obedience, he begins to have hope. And as he hopes in Christ, he begins to have joy. In the strength of the joy he begins to overcome the sins that so easily entangle him. He then finds that the joy of a holy walk is infinitely more satisfying than the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Bridges 151).
  • There is infinite joy awaiting us, but you cannot get to the reward with going through the process

–       Obedience à hope à joy à strength à satisfaction, but it all starts with obedience

–       Obedience entails forsaking sin, not only because it is detrimental to us but because it grieves the heart of God

–       Joy of the Lord works backwards as well. Whatever brings Him joy strengthens us, but whatever grieves His heart – all though it may provide temporal joy – is ultimately what ruins us.

  • Back to the beginning of the book, we need to count ourselves as dead to sin because Christ has already delivered us from its dominion

–       We can now actually say no to sin and choose obedience and joy but it is up to us to accept the responsibility to discipline ourselves in that way

  • He’s given us all we need for our pursuit of holiness

–       Freedom, the Holy Spirit, revelation of His will, His word, and He is always working in us

–       He’s given us pastors and leaders to encourage us

–       He answers our prayers when we ask for strength against temptation

–       It’s really just a matter of our choice

–       “Will we accept our responsibility and discipline ourselves to live in habitual obedience to the will of God? Will we persevere in the face of frequent failure, resolving to never give up? Will we decide that personal holiness is worth the price of saying no to our body’s demands to indulge in its appetites?”

–       If we really want holiness we can’t just sit around anymore waiting for God to make the first move. He’s already made it!!! It’s time for us to take a step of faith and trust God to do His part which He’s already promised to do.

–       He’s commanded us to be holy and given us the means to do so, the privilege is now ours along with the responsibility and if we make the decision to do so- we can truly experience the fullness of joy which Christ promised to those who walk in obedience with Him

 

Closing

  • “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:3-6, Paul and Timothy to followers of Christ in Philippi

It Is Finished

Honestly, Thursday during lunch I remember telling Cindy and Lindsey at accountability how this past week of internship wasn’t bad but wasn’t necessarily awesome.

I’d gone from revelations every week to a pretty chill week aside from a small drama issue. I thought about making up some extravagant lie about how I saved tigers from a Thailand zoo on a weekend mission or something like that. But then there’s the whole “Pursuing holiness” factor, and I didn’t think that’d be in line with that. So I came to the conclusion I’d have to just write about what we did this week instead of about new visions God’s given me.

Anywho, that entire thought process started to get pretty shattered Thursday night- at the very end of my intern week.

Before I go into all of that, here are a few fun things about this past week: I woke up at 5am on Monday with my beautiful, amazing friend Shelbie Bartok who gave me a ride to the DPS. You know they’re a keeper when they wake up at obscene hours to give you a ride somewhere and wait for a few hours in line at the DPS on their day off. Love that girl so much. Then we had Logos and put together a 1,000 piece puzzle. Got to see a huge change in a students life just by going to eat lunch with him at school. My team won in ultimate frisbee both games (no thanks to me). We had powerful class times from Dustin and Perla this week. I love getting to know my leaders more. We did some more Collin College outreach, then our team won the teambuilding activity of building the highest tower.

Those were a few things that just made me super happy this week. Then we get down to God blowing my mind, as always-

Lately, I’ve been stuck in a rut of distraction. There has been a situation (I won’t go in to details) where my mind has just been totally off focus because of something going on with one of my friends. It made me really frustrated because all my attention was on them and not God. I kept praying to God to take away this situation, no matter what harm it did to me. I used to pray all the time for God to “break my heart” in the sense of compassion, but this time I was praying it essentially asking God to cause me pain and hurt me. I wanted Him to do whatever He needed to do in order for my attention to be fixed on Him again- and in my mind, this meant having Him somehow cause me pain by getting the other person to hurt me. Looking back on it, I realize how incredibly twisted my thinking was and how much of my own self needed to be changed, not just the person.

During prayer Thursday night before service, I just kept praying “Lord, break my heart. Break it. Do whatever you need to do, but break it”. Then I just began to weep as He began to reveal to me what my heart was and how off it was from His character. He spoke to me and said “I don’t want to hurt you. I’m not going to hurt you”. It is not in His will or character to break my heart in the sense of purposefully causing me pain for no real reason.

I realized that God wanted me to choose to focus on Him. He already made the first steps, now it was my turn to act on them.

The next day I was literally closing my eyes to take my nap when I get a text from Sammy to watch the newest Ramp podcast. I’m really glad I chose it over sleep because it was CRAZY.

Even in the first 10 minutes God just began to reveal new things to me and speak to me.

I realized that I’ve had this mentality of wanting to have an intimate touch from God any time I’m in service or at internship prayer, but my quiet times hadn’t been as consistent as they should have been. It’s not that I wasn’t spending time with God, it’s that it was not my priority and it was not consistent. I’m pretty sure Damon Thompson used this analogy but I’m not 100% positive, but having that mentality is like a guy giving attention here and there to a girl. A cute text or a phone call a few times a week, then taking her out on a date just because you want to be physically intimate with her. That is AWFUL. If our dating relationships and marriages reflected the way we sometimes treat our relationship with God, no one would want us. We want an intimate touch with only a courting commitment. God wants a covenant. He wants a marriage. EVERYDAY He wants priority. Thankfully we’ve got a graceful God who looks past our failures, but I was so convicted in that to be more persistent in seeking Him out of love.

This post is already getting long, bear with me though. I tend to rant but this next part of my rant is crazy awesome.

You can watch the podcast for yourself but I’ll briefly summarize what it’s about. Basically, Damon Thompson was saying that it’s the end of the finishing season and we all feel like total failures. None of us feel like we were able to accomplish all the stuff we wanted and because of that we feel unworthy of the new age. However, THERE IS GOOD NEWS! We don’t even have to finish because Jesus already did! Humans were never expected to finish anything. We can’t compensate for our own sin, if we could there would have never had to been a cross, we would have never needed a Messiah. This finishing season was for us to make the best effort we could and then realize that we can’t finish and realize how totally dependent on Him we need to be. There’s so much more to it, but just go and watch it for yourself. So powerful.

Hearing these words, in my room I just let out a sigh of relief. My savior already finished for me. He’s pleased with me and loves me. It’s okay that I can’t do it all on my own, because He WANTS me to be completely dependent on Him.

Immediately, God just gave me a vision of me back in the water. I’d been trying so hard to expel my last breath and I couldn’t do it. I was getting so frustrated and then it was as if Jesus from above the water called down to me “I knew you wouldn’t be able to do it. I did it for you already”. I let out that sign in the water, and that was my last breath. That expelling of relief and realization of dependence was what I needed to know in order to die to myself and finish. I saw myself in the water, dead, and at peace. Then He raised me up, made new.

Now we’re in the Age of Fulfilled Vision. The age of abundant joy and of abundant life. The age of signs and wonders. The age where I fall in love with my master more than ever before. Just the beginning of this new ear of Christ’s will being done on earth. I’ve never had this much joy and life in my heart. I’ve never been this in love with Jesus. It feels so incredibly good to realize I can’t do it all. It feels so good to finally put aside all my performance issues. My God is Yaweh. My Redeemer. My Finisher.

After getting home from a crazy night of corrupt mafia, it was midnight on October 1, 2011. The new age had finally arrived and I fell asleep with desperation in my heart.

I had two incredible dreams that I feel are just small glimpses God’s giving me for this new age:
I dreamt I was back at graduation, and during the ceremony I began praying fervently and before my eyes everyone in the arena got baptized in the Holy Spirit and started speaking in tongues. There was fire and power and revival in my very midst. I got a taste of Pentecost. The second dream was pretty much the same thing but instead of me, it was Kaela at the Allen High School homecoming dance.

If we really size this new era and step out and pray fervently and desperately, I have total faith that we’ll see crazy revival.

A fire is igniting and this whole place is about to be set ablaze.