Journal entry.

IMG_3826

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

———————————————-

I’ve never been more thankful for all these times in life. Each one brings a unique growth of their own. And without both the good and bad I wouldn’t learn to appreciate either. The tears make me that much more thankful for the laughter and the memories of laughter carries me through the tears. All of these are a gift from God. A gift I hope I always choose to embrace, good or bad. So that through every circumstance I might grow to be more like Jesus everyday.

———————————————-

This has been a time of harvest for me personally. I’ve been writing more than ever, God even gave me a new book idea. Which I’m very excited about but also quite nervous because it’s definitely a controversial topic. (I don’t know why I’m surprised by that one, Jesus always talked about controversial things.) I’m discovering a lot about myself and really just growing in general. But this all truly started when I surrendered everything to God a week ago. (Boy, does He move quickly.)  I laid down all my hopes and dreams of what my life might look like. I laid down all my desires and ultimately my will for His. We swapped plans I suppose you could say. And when I did that I felt as if I could feel Him say, “Now we can truly get started.” I have absolutely no clue as to what my life will look like, I have no plan other than taking each day as it comes. But I know my Shepherd, He is good and has never been unfaithful to me before. And I don’t follow Him out of shame or guilt, but out of love. He came to me when I was lost and dirty. He didn’t chastise me. He cleaned me, embraced me and took me under His wing. He wants to do the same for you too. Our part is simply to surrender to it.

———————————————-

Through all of it.

11898517_10153254933577917_387171875244119251_n

As I was driving home the other day, going through valley’s and climbing up mountains. It was as if God took me through the course of my life. The ups and the downs, highs and lows, the joys and regrets. At one point the sense of regret hit me so strongly that my eyes welled up with tears and the only words I could think were, “I’m sorry, God. I’m so sorry.” The weight of choices I had made that I wished I didn’t and choices I didn’t make that I wish I had, piled up on my heart. He was taking me through the darkest time in my life all over again. It was in those moments that Jesus’ sacrifice began to overtake my heart. The whole time I was doing what I wanted, I thought I was free. Turns out, I was a captive. Jesus though, He showed me true freedom, from the sin that enslaved me for so long. From the sin that brought me so much emptiness. I couldn’t escape it on my own. I couldn’t even let go of the regret without Him. But, because of Him, I am a new creation. Complete and whole in Him.

————————————————————————–

As I started up a new mountain and glanced in the rear-view mirror, the tears started fresh as He showed me that through all of that, He never left. Never turned away from my brokenness. Even crazier than that, the whole time He was leading me straight to Himself. His love poured out over me. Love that I don’t deserve, love that I shouldn’t even be able to look at. He gives it to me. His love is one that you can’t describe, but you know exactly what I’m taking about if you’ve experienced it. If you haven’t, He sure wants you to. Don’t let regret or shame hold you back. It doesn’t make Him turn away from you, He’s not scared or disgusted with your mistakes. He wants to take all that from you and give you His peace and freedom. You just have to go to Him and let Him. No matter what anybody has told you, God loves you more than you could ever imagine. Jesus came not for the religious and self-righteous aka the “good” people, but for the sinners, to call them to repentance-(to change your mind and turn to Him), and give them hope, abundant life and true freedom.

————————————————————————-

When I got to the “homestretch”, He showed me the point where I had taken hold of His hand. I had gotten past the odd fog covering the mountains, and there was a peace and calm in the air, the sun was just setting and you could see the city in the distance. I realized, I don’t know the conditions of the road up ahead or where it’ll lead me. But, I know The Maker and He’s my guide. If I make a wrong turn, He’ll lead me back. If I miss a turn, well, He seems to be a fan of detours (adventures) anyway. 😉

Put down your stones.

0b1c3b0f838aad92a7294f989ff3d8fa

John 8:1-11

 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

When did we pick up our stones again?

All I’ve seen this last week is so many fellow Christians throwing stones, either at Bruce Jenner or Josh Duggar. Don’t we realize that when we throw stones with the sole purpose of condemning them, it really only condemns us. All sin is against God, we’ve all broken God’s law to the same degree, the cost of every sin is death (Romans 6:23).. That is why we need the Cross, that’s why Jesus’ sacrifice was essential. Because sin is evil and ugly and there was no way we could possibly redeem ourselves.

When we realize the cost, the weight of our own sin, suddenly it puts a whole lot of things into prospective. Now, before you jump on me, I am not saying what either of those two men listed above did was right. I’ll let this quote from Billy Graham wrap up what I’m trying to say.. “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.”

So please, put down your stones. Jesus would say the same thing to both those men as He did the adulteress woman.. “Then neither do I condemn you, Go and leave your life of sin.” It’s up to them to either continue in their sin or turn to Jesus. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. We need to point people to Jesus, the only One who can save them and us from sin. We’re not better than them, we ALL need Jesus, that’s the whole point.

Romans 13:8-10″

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

When we truly love people, we point them toward Christ. Because He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He sets free, He redeems.

It doesn’t mean we don’t speak the Truth, but we speak it with love, not stones.

Do you love Jesus?

the-age-of-accountability-8-638

Want to love Jesus more? Keep His commandments. Want to have a deeper relationship with Jesus? Keep His commandments. For when we seek with all our heart’s we will find Him. He’s not hiding from you, He’s not far off, He’s knocking on the door of your heart, you just have to let Him in, really let Him in. Not half way, but fully. Let go and let the door swing wide open and invite Him in, He’ll never leave you. He wants to bring us so much deeper in our relationship with Him than we are now, it’s like we’re scared to offer Him everything. He is everything, He made everything, has everything, but yet, seeks our heart’s still. What crazy love. Did you know He even sings over us? Has there ever been a song that made you think of someone you loved and you would sing it with all your heart and with a smile on your face? That’s what He does with us. He is so filled with love and joy when He thinks of us. How can we respond in any way other than giving Him everything? When we start to realize just how loved we really are by Him any fear we have of giving it all to Him can only flee. Go and read Jesus’ words as if it were for the first time, without anyone’s opinion on what He’s saying in your head. He loves you with an all-consuming, everlasting, crazy love.

Jesus sets free.

0773e49ce52f2b2c2320fdef3691205d-d7usppr

I was sitting with my mom last night playing this game on my phone called, “Trivia crack.” If you haven’t heard of it basically you spin a wheel and depending on what category it lands on then you answer a question, my category was entertainment and the question was, “In Aladdin what was the Genie’s only wish?” and it had four different choices, 1, to undo a mistake. 2, have a friend. 3, to find true love. and 4, to be free. Now if you aren’t familiar with Aladdin, all the Genie (Who is voiced by Robin Williams) wanted was to be free. It was yet another light bulb moment for me, I turned to my mom, showed her the question and said, “All Robin Williams wanted was to be free, and that’s what Jesus does, He sets us free.”

That’s the hope we have. We’re no longer slaves to sin and this world, we’re free. And I think if we really allowed that truth to sink deep into our hearts it would flow back out of our hearts and mouths a lot more often. What would have happened if someone had shared the Truth with Robin Williams, maybe he wouldn’t have accepted it, maybe he would have. Maybe he did even, only God knows. But it’s not our responsibility on how people respond, our only responsibility is that we tell them. We have the answer, we just have to be willing to share it. Love does no wrong to his neighbor, so if we really loved them, we would show them The One who died and lives so they, we, could be free. The One who loves and heals and works in ways we cannot fathom. The God who woo’s us back to Him again and again, who created all this for us. We would show them a glimpse of God’s crazy love. For while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Be a light for Him. This world needs light now more than ever.

The Lord is my shepherd.

9ec046bb99b660aaa7b34ede60673410

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1)

Such simple words, but God used them to show me, with Him I have no need to want anything. As Max Lucado put it, “David has found the pasture where discontent goes to die. It’s as if he is saying, what I have in God is greater than what I don’t have in life.” It’s so easy to look at what we don’t have instead of remembering what we do have. You see, when we remember who He is, then we can remember what we have. When we say, Lord, You are my shepherd, You’re not only all I need but You’re all I want, then we too can find the pasture where discontent is laid to rest. Where we find, He is so much more than we ever imagined.

These past few weeks He’s really shown me that He’s my provider, He can and will take care of me. He doesn’t stop the storms, He guides me through them. He doesn’t clear the uncertainties right away, He shows me I can trust Him with them, because to Him, nothing is uncertain. He also told me, rather bluntly, that my heart belongs to Him first and foremost, He doesn’t share the top spot. He really asks for all or nothing. And it’s in the surrender we find freedom. We find that life is a beautiful gift to be enjoyed with Him. We find that The Lord is our shepherd and we shall not be wanting.

Keep making me.

11052514_10152872329079811_5828355624469805401_n

Man, can this walk with God feel a lot less like a walk and a whole lot more like a roller coaster ride at times. He takes you through twists and turns and there are moments where you can’t even tell which way is up. And boy, does Satan come at you in those moments, “You put your trust in God and this is what He gives you?!” “Isn’t He supposed to love you?! Why would He let you down like this?!” But the truth is, God is ALWAYS looking out for our good, even if it may not FEEL good. God has a plan and a purpose for our lives and a lot of times it might not be what we hoped for but it’s always what’s best for us. He gives and He takes away, but His promise to us is always the same, I will be with you, smiling with you in the ups and crying with you in the downs, you need not fear.

But I feel like this song says more than I possibly could. It’s my prayer.. Give it a listen.