Tag Archives: Jesus

Lessons from this Summer (Part 1) — Lord, Grow My Faith

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It has been quite some time since I have last posted anything on this blog. Long times of silence for me, usually mean that God is teaching me a lot and I am processing it. This blog was created as a place for me to record what I am learning in my walk with God. It is called Trust Falls because trusting God completely has always been a struggle for me. I think it is for everyone at some point or another if we are honest.

The next several posts over the next few days are my reflections on what God has been teaching me this summer. I write these posts to share what I am learning in hopes that it may also encourage you. I also write them because it helps me remember what I am learning and also be held accountable by those of you who read this blog and go throughout daily life with me.

The first lesson I have been learning this summer lays the foundation for all of the other posts to follow.

This past year, I often prayed that God would grow my faith. I had no idea when I prayed that prayer what that would exactly imply. I don’t even think I fully considered what that would mean as I prayed it. The prayer fit with the theme of chapel or a song I was listening to.

But God often answers our prayers.

This summer I have been participating in a Bible study called, The Gospel-Centered Life. (I highly recommend it). One night my Bible study leader told us…

“Opportunities to trust God are opportunities to grow our faith.”

And the lightbulb went off…

I had flashbacks to all the times I have prayed that prayer, sometimes praying it by rote rather than meaning it with my whole heart.

I remembered the mornings my car wouldn’t start, my day had too many tiring obstacles, and I worried about the future. I thought of times that I was frustrated with other people, strategizing how I would provide for myself, and trying to save the world without looking to the true Savior of the world for help.

And it has struck me so often in the days since then just how many opportunities that God was giving me every day to build my faith by trusting Him.

Slowly my attitude has been changing. Rather than feeling frustrated by challenges in my day, I am learning to entrust them to God which is growing my faith in Him. Rather than racking my brain for a million of my own solutions, I am praying and asking God to show me the direction He would like me to take. Rather than worrying about the future, I am remembering that there has not been one day in my life that God has not provided my basic needs and blessed me in abundance with more.

There are many moments throughout the day when I succeed, and many more when I fail. But slowly and surely, I am learning to put my trust in God–not me, not other people, not things, not finances, not my jobs–and my faith in Him is growing steadily every day.

I don’t know where you are at tonight when it comes to trusting God. Maybe you gave Him your life a long time ago. Maybe you never have. Regardless of where you are today, remember that there is a very real God who made you and loves you. He has great plans for you. He knows you by name and thinks about you constantly. He loves you with an everlasting love.

If you have never trusted God with your life, why not trust Him today? Stop running from Him and give Him control. Ask Him for forgiveness from your sins and trust Him with the rest of your life.

Lord, I know that I have sinned. I know that my sin separates me from you. Thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross to save me from my sins. I ask for your forgiveness from my sins today. I believe that you sent your son Jesus to die on the cross and that He was raised from the dead. I ask that you will come into my heart and make me a new creation. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

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Give Me an Undivided Heart

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Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

Psalm 86:11

I cannot sleep tonight.  Honestly, I don’t sleep very well most nights.  My mind tends to run over the events of the day over and over again.  Sometimes my thoughts are stressful, while other times I am just so excited I cannot stop thinking.

Tonight, however, I think I’m awake because I need to reconnect with the One who holds my heart, Jesus Christ.  So I’ve turned on some of my favorite worship songs and opened up  my blog to pour out my heart.

If you’ve ever read my about page you know that this blog is a compilation of my journey with the Lord and my struggle to surrender everything to Him.  Maybe you’ve seen that pattern in my posts.  I write this blog to remember what He is doing in my life.  I read it when I need a reminder or want to remember what He has done.

Lately, I have found it hard to spend quality time with Him.  Maybe you’ve been there sometimes.  Maybe devos are easy for you.  For me, they have always been a struggle to consistently maintain.  But this week, I have felt their absence.  Tonight I felt desperate for just a taste of His word and to draw closer to Him.

But the thing is, I don’t want to keep waiting until I am desperate after a few days of no devos to spend time with Him and pour over His word.  Every day that I didn’t spend time with Him this week, I was very aware of, but I still chose not to spend quality time with God.  The days that I did spend time in His Word, I felt so refreshed.

It seems like such a no-brainer right?  Why would I chose the things that don’t satisfy over spending time with God?

A lot of reasons.  A lot of really selfish reasons that when they are put all together really don’t amount to much of anything.  A lot of reasons that end up giving me a divided heart between this world and the Lord.

Today was one of those days where so many different thoughts and emotions ran through my head.  But of all the things that happened today, all I really want to remember about it when I read this blog in the future is Jesus.

How desperately I need Him every day.  How incredibly important it is to spend time with Him.  How alive and peaceful and right everything seems when I am in His presence.

You know a lot of people and experiences are going to come and go in this life.  There will probably be a lot of days in the future like today that are busy, challenging, and wonderful.  But at the end of the day, and at the end of this life only One will remain, Jesus.

And tonight I am clinging to Him.  I am clinging to Him because I need His help every day.  I am clinging to Him because He knows be better than anyone on this earth.  I am clinging to Him because He is the only One who can save me.  I am clinging to Him because He is fun to spend time with.  I am clinging to Him because I love Him and His love for me is overwhelming.

Recently, I have been listening incessantly to “The More I Seek You” by Kari Jobe.  There are a few lines in the song that say…

I want to sit at Your feet

Drink from the cup in Your hand

Lay back against You and breathe

Feel Your heartbeat

This love is so deep

It’s more than I can stand

I melt in Your peace

It’s overwhelming.

That’s my prayer tonight.  I want to sit at His feet.  Daily.  Hour by hour.  Minute by minute.

Dear Jesus,

I need you.  My heart is so divided so often.  Forgive me for the many things I have chosen instead of You.  Lord, I want an undivided heart. I want to walk in Your truth.  I want to fear Your name.  Please teach me Your way, and guard me from my own.  It’s early on a Sunday morning.  I’ll be starting a new day and week in a few hours.  There are a lot of different thoughts swirling around in my mind.  I surrender them to You.  I trust You with my day.  I trust You with my future.

I love You, Jesus.

In Your name, Amen.

Semester Reflections

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It is crazy how fast a semester can come and go.  I can hardly believe that college is nearly half way completed.  In all the craziness of this past semester, I have hardly taken the time to blog and I wanted to write this little post to update you on what God has been teaching me in these past few months. 

If I had to sum up the whole semester in one word it would simply be “blessings.”

Here are a few of the reasons why…

  1. God Provides.  If you have been keeping up with my blog you know that a few months ago, 300 dollars were anonymously placed into my mailbox, eliminating a large majority of my bill for school.  But He didn’t stop there.  He went above and beyond by providing me with a new job that I loved for one semester.  As the end of that job approached, I was offered another job that was completely unexpected which amounts to the same salary I was making at my job this past semester.  My parents always told me that “God is seldom early, but He is never late.”  I have seen His unexpected financial blessings over and over again throughout this semester.
  2. God Teaches.  Whether it was through the words of a chapel message, song lyrics, friends, family, church, my students, professors-God was continually speaking truth into my life.  I have been challenged time and again this semester to work through and let go of habits and struggles.  I have been surrounded by excellent accountability partners.  I also took some time to explore the spiritual disciplines as a result of one of my classes and the lessons learned from that were immense.  I highly recommend the book The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard.
  3. God Satisfies.  I have thought a lot about the question of how I would react if everything in my life were taken away this semester.  What would I do? What do I value the most?  I am still processing this one.  But I have to tell you that the more I look to Him and the less I look to me, it is unreal how completely satisfying He alone is.  
  4. God Surprises.  Isn’t it amazing how God goes above and beyond!  Not only does He meet our needs, but He also blesses us beyond what we can imagine.  This for me came in the form of friendships this semester.  I continued to be blessed by old friends, but also added some new ones.  These friends have challenged, encouraged, and refreshed me.  They were incredible surprises that were unexpected, but so very needed.
  5. God brings us joy.  How very refreshing it is to laugh!  There have been so many moments of humor throughout the semester.  There has also been an overwhelming sense of deep satisfaction that cannot be contained.  This joy is life- giving and incredible.  
  6. God is Present.  So often I close my eyes to what He is doing around me and in the lives of others and focus on worries or complain.  In doing this, I miss so much of the big picture.  God is present on this earth and I want to see Him in each and every day.  I’ve started to write these moments down to look back on and remember.
  7. Time with God is Necessary.  My day is truly different if I have not spent time with God.  Time and time again I get to the end of a day and wonder why it was so bad, only to realize that I had not taken the time to go through my entire day with Him.  Quick prayers and maybe a devo just don’t cut it.
  8. God gives Wisdom.  God’s wisdom is so much better than my plans.  He knows the way to go.  I am learning how to be patient, and how to hold my tongue.  I’m one of those people who talks a lot and whose brain is going about 100 mph throughout the day.  A lot of times, I need to just stop and listen.  A friend recently challenged me to let go of all my worries and live freely.  Trusting that God’s wisdom is higher than my own is a big part of that process.
  9. God Loves.  He loves us.  That is just crazy to think about.  God, the Creator of the Universe, loves you and me.  Little us.  And not only us, but all of His creation. He has time for us.  He cares for us.  He even let’s us call Him Dad.
  10. God is Big.  He’s bigger than my plans and dreams.  He’s bigger than my problems. He’s bigger than my past, present, and future.  He’s bigger than evil.  He’s bigger than I can comprehend or even imagine.

These lessons are some of the reasons why I would summarize this past semester as one of “blessings.”

It is Christmastime and soon it will be New Years.  During the holidays it is easy to get so caught up in the craziness, that we lose sight of what we are celebrating anyway.  We lose sight of the ways God is blessing us.  

In church this past Sunday, my Dad shared these statistics in his sermon and I wanted to pass them on to you.  

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness…you are more blessed than the six million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation…you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death…you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep…you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace…you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.


These statistics humbled and challenged me this past week.  As your semester and year come to a close, how has God been blessing you?  Take some time to reflect on the ways that He is at work around you.  

And don’t forget in the midst of all the craziness of the holidays to celebrate. Celebrate the blessing of the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior this Christmastime. Celebrate what this whole season is really all about.

The Influence of a Godly Mom

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Listen my son to your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

Proverbs 1:8

Tomorrow marks a very special day in my life, the birthday of my mom.  If you asked me who the most godly woman I have ever met is, without hesitation I would tell you my mom.

And in honor of her birthday, I would like to tell you the reasons why.  These are some of the lessons I have learned from my mom.

She taught me that character matters.  And that nothing and no one should ever make you compromise it.

She taught me that wisdom first and foremost comes from the Lord.  Whenever I had any sort of problem, her first question would be if I had prayed about it.  If my answer was no, she would send me to my room to pray and ask the Lord for guidance before I sought hers.

She taught me to pray for wisdom, knowledge, understanding and discernment.

She taught me the value of time spent in the word.  Many mornings I would find her in bed doing her devotions.  The book was worn and torn from years of use.  When I went to college, she gave me her devotional book.   It is one of the most precious gifts I have ever been given.

She taught me to pick and chose friendships wisely, to look for friends that would push me towards the Lord.

She taught me that only one opinion of me really mattered, God’s.

She taught me that exterior beauty will fade, but inner beauty can only grow and mature.

She taught me that my family should be my best friends.

She taught me about sacrifice.  She would never put herself first.

She taught me that good relationships are worth waiting for and to never settle.

She taught me what a wife should look like.

She taught me how to manage my time, work hard throughout the day, and relax at the end.

She taught me to manage my anger, and to never let the sun go down without resolving it.

She taught me that sometimes I was wrong and needed to see a situation from another’s point of view.

She taught me to take healthy risks and try new things.

She taught me how to distinguish between Satan’s lies and God’s truth.

She taught me to pick my battles wisely.

She taught me to tithe.

She taught me to put others before myself.

She taught me to do the hard right thing over the easy wrong.

She taught me to go for my dreams and believe that if God was in it, it would eventually come to be.

She taught me to trust in the Lord as provider.

She taught me to be patient.

She taught me to listen.

She taught me gentleness, compassion, and kindness.

She taught me what it means to be faithful and loyal.

She taught me about my Creator.

And so much more…

So for those of you who are parents, setting a godly example for us, your children, is so very important.  It is the greatest gift that my parents gave to me.

And for those of you who are not, you still have a vital role to future generations.  What kind of legacy are you leaving?

Thank you, Mom for all you have given to your four kiddos.  We love you!  I wish I could be there with you today to celebrate!

 

 

 

 

Thank You, God

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So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Colossians 2:6-7

God is good.

He has given us…

  1. Food
  2. Water
  3. Nature
  4. Friends
  5. Family
  6. Jobs
  7. Meaningful work
  8. Ministry opportunities
  9. Music
  10. Creativity
  11. A new day
  12. Forgiveness
  13. Mercy
  14. Grace
  15. Compassion
  16. Butterflies
  17. Flowers
  18. Homes
  19. Rain
  20. Crops
  21. Exercise
  22. Finances
  23. The ability to think and reason
  24. His word
  25. Unfailing love
  26. Animals
  27. Different kinds of fruit
  28. Hilariously shaped clouds
  29. Laughter
  30. Joints and muscles that move
  31. Brains
  32. The five senses
  33. Math
  34. Rainbows
  35. Snow
  36. Waterfalls
  37. Icicles
  38. Smiles
  39. Hugs
  40. The feeling of hot and cold
  41. Cultures
  42. Languages
  43. Continents
  44. Oceans
  45. Planets
  46. Stars
  47. A soul
  48. Snow
  49. Color
  50. Light
  51. Darkness
  52. Gardens
  53. Rivers
  54. Mountains
  55. Frogs
  56. The praying mantis
  57. Starfish
  58. Second chances
  59. Ability to chose Him
  60. Salvation
  61. Redemption
  62. Righteousness
  63. Faith
  64. Spiritual gifts
  65. Unique strengths
  66. Galaxies
  67. A limitation in our knowledge
  68. The atmosphere
  69. The Body of Christ
  70. Justice
  71. No reason to ever be bored
  72. His one and only Son who died for us
  73. Prayer
  74. A way out of temptation
  75. Reconciliation
  76. Encouragement
  77. Children
  78. Older generations
  79. Wisdom
  80. Discernment
  81. Knowledge
  82. Understanding
  83. Patience
  84. Peace
  85. Direction
  86. Answers
  87. Dance
  88. Joy
  89. Excitement
  90. Watermelon
  91. Deliverance
  92. Sleep
  93. Beauty out of pain
  94. Companionship in brokenness
  95. Freedom
  96. Mentors
  97. Life
  98. Passions
  99. Dreams
  100. Adventures

And so many more.

And for these gifts…tonight…I am so very thankful.

Lift Your Eyes…

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Just take a minute and read the passage below.  And I don’t mean skim it.  Dig into it.  Read it until the words sink in for you tonight.

Isaiah 51: 1-8, 12-16

Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many. The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation: The law will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations. My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies; But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail. Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have my law in your hearts: Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults. For the moth will eat them up like a garment;  the worm will devour them like wool. But my righteousness will last forever, my salvation through all generations. […] I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass, that you forget the Lord your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor,who is bent on destruction? For where is the wrath of the oppressor? The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread. For I am the Lord your God,who churns up the sea so that its waves roar — the Lord Almighty is his name. I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand —I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’

~

Tonight, I was feeling a little down and opened up my journal about to write about my doubts, insecurities, fears, etc.  The song Mystery by Charlie Hall (check it out here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaSv0W9eyHI) was playing in the background.  Just as I was about to write out my first fear, the words…

Celebrate His death and rising, lift your eyes proclaim He’s coming, celebrate His death and rising, lift your eyes, lift your eyes

…rang out loud and clear from my speakers.  I did not even write one fear or doubt down on that paper.  I was immediately convicted that I needed to look up and focus on Jesus and all that He has done for me, rather than into my own self and my own issues.

My smile was huge.  Because Jesus was once again reminding me that I had taken my eyes off Him.  No wonder why everything was starting to seem so out of balance.

Friends, there are a lot of little, petty things that can block out Jesus from being in our sights 100% of the time.

But did you read that passage above? Those earthly things will pass away. They are TEMPORARY. But His salvation will last forever.

-What little things of this world are blocking your view of Jesus tonight?

-What is getting in the way of you letting them go?

Praying for you, dear friend, on this journey.

Lift Your Eyes

A Life Changing Secret

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I have learned the secret of being content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. –Philippians 4:11b-13

Have you ever been entirely out of your comfort zone?  I can think of several examples.  Most recently, I experienced the unique transition that comes with starting college.  I spent my senior year of high school sad about leaving friends, but also excited and completely convinced that I was going exactly where God wanted me to be.

However, the night before moving in, I found myself curled up on my mom’s bed sobbing.  I was terrified to start my first day.  I was worried about making friends, starting classes, and saying goodbye.  I also had no clue where to even find my school on a map and the realization that my family was going to be thirteen hours away made me feel vulnerable and alone.

The next morning, driving up to campus, I was short with my family, could feel the tears about to spill over, and yet was desperately trying to hold it all together for the moment I stepped out of the car and risked running into a future classmate.   I had stopped trusting that God had a plan in all of this and that I just needed to follow, and had started focusing in on everything that could possibly go wrong with a set of circumstances that were completely foreign to me.

Have you ever felt that way before?

I love the verse at the top of this post.  I love how it challenges and convicts me that there is still a lot of work to be done.  I have learned the secret of being content whatever the circumstances.  And what are the circumstances?

  • In need
  • In plenty
  • In any and every situation
  • When well fed
  • When hungry
  • Living in plenty
  • Living in want

This year in my discipleship group, I read a book called Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow.  In each chapter, Linda addressed a different area of our lives that we need to learn to be content in.  She included one woman’s recipe for contentment to help us view each day differently.  It was so incredibly convicting to me that I want to share it with you…

  1. Never allow yourself to complain about anything—not even the weather.
  2. Never picture yourself in any other circumstances of someplace else.
  3. Never compare your lot with another’s.
  4. Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
  5. Never dwell on tomorrow—remember that [tomorrow] is God’s, not ours.

(Calm My Anxious Heart page 13).

I remember the night we discussed this in discipleship group and I was overwhelmed with how much I needed a serious change in my attitude towards each day.  My leader challenged us to try to put one of the items on the list above into practice for the week.  As I left the room, I had already messed up on mine several times.

This first year of college has certainly been a journey for me.  I have been broken down and built back up.  I have learned that I have strengths and weaknesses that I did not even know existed.  I have tried new things and made new friendships.  I have written a lot more checks.  I have learned how to manage my time better, and how to do well in my classes.

All my circumstances have changed around me constantly.  Our circumstances will change around us every day.  But did you catch the end of the verse above?  The secret of being content whatever the circumstances is that we can do everything through Him who gives us strength.   

That’s the biggest thing that I have learned this year.  No matter what my circumstances are, I can overcome and flourish in them through Him, Jesus, who gives me strength.  I still mess up each and every day.  But I’m finding that I am a lot more content when I am tapping into the strength of my Savior rather than my own limited supply.

I smile when I think about how nervous I was on that first day of school this year.  In a lot of ways, I am not that same person.  God knew exactly what He was doing.  I just needed to trust that His plan was a lot bigger and better than mine.  And that He knew my circumstances and would bring me through them.

Today, I want to issue to you the same challenge that my discipleship group leader gave me at the beginning of the year.  Pick something on the list of contentment and try to put in into practice this week.  I think you’ll be surprised by the results.