Tuesday, January 30, 2018

All In

1 Peter 5:7, "casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you."

I am a planner. This is something I've learned about myself. I like to have checkout lists and know what I'm going to be doing. I like to plan out my day beforehand.

That's not necessarily a bad thing.

If I have to do something I want to detailed plan or someone to tell me exactly what to do. It's the same with my Christian life. I want a plan for what's going to happen, I want to know exactly what to say to someone when talking about Jesus. But life doesn't go according to plan. I can't plan out everything. I can't control everything.

Recently I just felt really burdened. I felt like I carried the wait of the world on my shoulders. Because sometimes I try to put my life in God's hands, but then I try to look over His shoulder and try to tell Him what to do. But the thing is I don't need to do that. And His plans are greater than I can imagine, what He has in store for me is beyond what I could ever plan for myself.

I've been asked by several people what my word of the year is. I'm still not completely sure. I guess I don't want to commit to one word... I'm probably going to end up with a few :). But I think that God has been laying the word all on my heart. It's so powerful, it's giving my all to Jesus. To be honest it scares me to give my all to something or someone, it's hard for me to commit usually. But the Bible makes it clear that we can't be halfhearted Christians. Jesus asks for all of us.

Mark 10:21, "Then, looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.”"

Jesus was talking to a rich young ruler here, He knew that his riches were holding him back so He told him to sell all he had and give it to the poor. He wants all of us.

Matthew 22:37, "He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind."

Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. With your all.

I'm still learning what it means to completely surrender, to give my all. I'm far from it. But slowly God is showing me how. I want to be all in, not partly.

I realize that this post was kind of scattered, but here's what ties it up:
We need to cast our cares on Him. Surrender all of us to Him. And live for Him with all of us.


There's a great song by Finding Favor that kept coming to mind when I was thinking about it, actually I'm listening to it while writing this. It's called Cast My Cares.

Psalm 55:22, "Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you;"

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A Refiner's Fire

Zechariah 13:9, "I will put this third through the fire; I will refine them as silver is refined and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say: They are My people, and they will say: Yahweh is our God.”

Psalm 66:10, "For You, God, tested us; You refined us as silver is refined."

Sometimes in scripture we hear the phrase refined as silver or gold, or tested through the fire (that was me paraphrasing). What exactly does that mean?

I was reading in Zechariah 13 when I came across that verse at the top. In my Bible there are also some devotionals to go along with some of the scriptures and that devotional in particular stood out to me. It talked about the refiner's fire. It said how scripture uses fire to describe the process of purification. Fire symbolizes the character of God because He is flawless and pure.

Hebrews 12:28-29, "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire."

When we come close to God we experience the heat of His glory and holiness.

Exodus 19:18, "Mount Sinai was completely enveloped in smoke because the Lord came down on it in fire. Its smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently."

I was looking up Bible verses and came across the one above. When the Lord came down He came down in fire. I just think that that's really cool.

Sometimes God brings us through the fire, to refine us as gold or silver is refined. An interesting fact about that is that only pure gold can last through the flames without being destroyed, fool's gold doesn't stand a chance.

James 1:2-3, "Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

Jeremiah 9:7, "Therefore, this is what the Lord of Hosts says: I am about to refine them and test them,"

Sometimes it takes a refining process to find out what we're made of.
The refining process of gold removes the impurities, just like how a refining process for us can show impurities and sin.


Click here to listen to a really powerful song, it's called Psalm 46 (Lord of Hosts) by Shane and Shane. Some of the lyrics is this:

"Lord of Hosts You're with us,
with us in the fire.
With us as a Shelter,
with us in the storm."

Psalm 66:12, "we went through fire and water, but You brought us out to abundance."

God is with us, and when we go through the fire then He is with us. He's with us through it all.

Isaiah 48:10, "Look, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."

Isaiah 41:10, "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand."

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Living for Christ: Change the World

(from a recent snow day)

A few weeks ago I was thinking about how I can make a difference. I want to change the world. But the thing we forget is how we change the world. I'm not saying I'm going to become well known, or be famous, or give millions to help thousands of people. Far from it. I want to change the world through the "small things". Through a smile to a stranger, through encouraging someone, through doing a act of service for someone, through being kind.
A song I've been listening to recently, "That's How You Change the World" by the Newsboys, it says how we can change the world through what we don't expect. We miss the small things, the small needs around us.

A passage in the Bible that's always inspired me to do things for others is Matthew 25:35-40. It says, ""For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 
I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you took care of Me; I was in prison and you visited Me.’
 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?’
 “And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’"

Like I said in my post about living for Christ selflessly, what we do for others we do for Jesus.

 Another verse is 2 Timothy 2:21, "So if anyone purifies himself from anything dishonorable, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work."

A friend said to me, "I think there's so much more to the Christian life than what we have."
I think she's right. In the Bible Jesus said you just need the faith the size of a mustard seed to say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move. (Matthew 17:20).... but do we even have that much faith?

I want to live for Christ. That's easier said then done. But we can do it, with Jesus' help. We can't do this on our own, no matter how hard we try. We need to rely on God, and pray. And let's encourage one another, lift each other up, challenge each other.

We can make a difference. We can grow. But we have to be willing. And we have to do it with God, not on our own.


What are some ways you can make a difference? Any Bible verses that challenge you to live for Christ? How can you encourage people? How can you live for Christ? Any other thoughts on the subject?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Living for Christ: through the small things

Zechariah 4:10 says, "For who scorns the day of small things?"

Right now I'm making my way through the book of Zechariah and when I came across that verse in chapter 4 I passed right over it. But later when I talked to my mom about that passage she brought that scripture to light. It's funny how no matter how many times you read God's Word there is always something new to learn.

Throughout the book of Zechariah then the Israelite's are rebuilding the tabernacle. Each day they would go out and put stone after stone on top of each other. That was a daunting task. It probably seemed at the time that they would never finish. It also probably seemed insignificant to just put one stone on top of another. But each stone built onto a bigger picture.
Even though the work might have seemed endless, even if each stone they put seemed like a "small thing" to do, each stone was progress towards the finishing of the tabernacle.

Today we don't have a physical tabernacle to build. But we have the Kingdom of God to prepare for.

Mark 1:15, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near."

How do we live for Christ through the "small things"?
Through doing things like sending an encouraging text, by smiling at a stranger, through a kind word, through doing something for someone else... the list goes on.

God has us each in a season of life for a reason. What's God trying to show you?

Sometimes we want to do big things for Jesus. There's nothing wrong with that. But sometimes maybe He's calling us to do small things. Sometimes what may seem small in our eyes really isn't when you look to eternity. You may never know how your words might have impacted people, or how an encouraging scripture you shared might have lifted someone up, or maybe you planted a seed in someone's life for them to later come.

Let's strive to live for Christ... not only through the "big things" but through the small things.


How can you live for Christ through the small things? What season of life are you in right now? What do you think God is calling you to do now? Any other thoughts?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A New Year

2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come."

Isaiah 43:16, 18-19, "This is what the Lord says— who makes a way in the sea, and a path through surging waters, “Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert."

It's almost hard to believe 2017 has come to a close. For me it was a time to learn a lot, a time to grow.

New Years resolutions.... usually we make them like eating healthier or exercising more (which usually we stick with those for maybe a month.) But next year I just want to be open. Open to learn, open to grow, open to listen and to trust in God. I want to pray more, to spend more time in God's Word.
And I want to cherish each moment.

Life is precious. Life is short. Life is something to be cherished.

So let's try to be thankful each day for each day we've had, for each year we have lived, and for each moment we're in.

Psalm 79:13, "Then we, Your people, the sheep of Your pasture, will thank You forever; we will declare Your praise to generation after generation."

Often we're afraid of new, of change. But one thing I've learned over the past few years is that through change we grow. Of course, often in times of waiting we grow as well.
This is going to be a new year, we don't know what it holds, but we can hold on to the fact that God is faithful, He and His love will always remain.


How was 2017 for you? What were some changes or things that you've learned? Are you excited about 2018? What are your New Year resolutions? Any other thoughts?