"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
How much of our waking hours do you think we spend thinking about circumstances beyond our control? I don't have any scientific numbers to back this up, but I know that for most of us, thoughts about what is going on around us, or worrying about what is ahead of us, takes up a great amount of time in our brains on a daily basis.
What's funny about these thought patterns is that they never really accomplish anything. Think about a time when you played a situation out in your head. When it happened in real life, did it look like anything you thought it would? Probably not. The truth of the matter is, life often happens way differently than we could ever think it would.
So instead of entertaining ideas in our minds that emotionally drain us and make our wheels of worry spin out of control, let's think of what a better use of our time could be.
Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to pray continually. Other translations of this verse tell us to pray always. I wonder what would happen to our fear and worry if instead of worrying about everything that could go wrong, or trying to brace ourselves for everything we're expecting to go wrong, we instead fill that time with prayer.
In Philippians 4:8, Paul also tells us, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." When I read this, I don't see how worry fits into any of those categories, but I do see how Jesus fits into those categories.
We don't need any fancy words to pray, or be in any certain place at any certain time. God hears our cries from anywhere. He knows how anxious our hearts can get, but He also knows that if we bring our concerns to Him, He will prove to be faithful. God is not capable of failing us as His children. Let us be more intentional about where our thoughts go, and when we find them starting to wander, let us bring them back to Him.
Until Next Time,
"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You." - Isaiah 26:3
"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." - Hebrews 11:6
I don't know about you, but I have been so distracted.
I was reading my Bible last week when it all hit me, and since then, like a tidal wave, it's continued to hit me. My focus has been off. My mind has wandered. I have become distracted.
So many of us had to fight distraction this last year. The thing about distraction is you don't often realize it's happening until it's too late. Hours have gone by and you're still on social media. It's three in the afternoon and you're still in your pajamas. It's been a whole year and you still haven't gotten to that home project you wanted to get done. Where has the time gone, and what's happened in the meantime?
For me, distraction has looked like spending too much time on social media. It's also looked like spending to much time thinking about what I want my future to look like instead of actually preparing for that future. And in the midst of all of this, I've faced heartbreak, disappointment, and discouragement.
When we become distracted, it's because we've lost our focus. We've forgotten that this earth is not our eternal home. We've forgotten there is a Kingdom that is coming, and a King who awaits us in there here and now. That we have a God who has a perfect plan for our lives, if only we'd stop wasting our time and start being intentional about preparation and surrender.
I know this all sounds intense, and of course we're allowed to have fun and take a break throughout our day. But the point is, what choices are you making today that are preparing you for the future God is calling you to? How are you spending your time today that is growing your relationship with God and allowing Him to work on your heart to impact people on this earth for His Kingdom?
I read a quote that woke me up from my distracted slumber, and it went like this: "Patient is getting under a burden or affliction and turning it into glory." (author unknown).
I read this from an article in my Study Bible, and I knew exactly what God was trying to tell me. Instead of waiting around, wasting my time, there was purpose in my current season. The lessons I've learned are stories to be shared. The afflictions that have plagued me are worth writing about so that His glory may be known.
So my turnaround goes like this: Less time worrying about what my future looks like, more time using my gifts to serve people in the season I'm in. That's why I'm starting to blog again. It's part of my plan to stay focused on the here and now and tell of the lessons I'm learning in my current season.
What does your turnaround look like? What has been distracting you, and how can you be more focused? Do you want to get married someday? Chances are, this is a good time to start learning how to be a good spouse. Do you want to pursue a career that'll take experience? This would be a great time to start equipping yourself with the knowledge and experience it'll take.
Where do you want to be in five years, and what can you do today to get there?
Take your dreams to God in prayer, with an open and surrendered heart, and ask Him to show you where you're distracted, and what you need to do to align yourself with all He has for you.
No distraction is worth delaying what God has for you. When we recognize that we've wasted or time, we'll be a lot more diligent on staying focused. And that's my prayer for us this week. We stop wasting time and start getting focused. God has great things in store for us when we do.
Until next time,
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” // Psalm 23:4
I don’t think it goes without saying how we are truly in one of the most, if not the most, difficult season our country and our world has faced in a very, very long time. I’ve been just like the rest of you these past few weeks: Glued to the news and social media feeds, left shocked and heartbroken by the things going on around us. People have lost their jobs. Small business owners have lost their dreams. Many of lost access to health insurance, and many have lost access to their own health.
COVID-19 has gone through quite the transition, at least here in America. We all kind of went from joking about it with memes, to finding the toilet paper aisles empty, to now staying inside and hearing the death toll could reach up to 240 million people in America alone. As I’ve sat and thought the past few days, so many possibilities have crossed my mind. We truly don’t know what the next few days, weeks, or months bring. We are truly in uncharted territory. And as much as I’d love to comfort us all by saying God knew this was coming and that He is in control (because both of those things are true), I think God is giving us a little more substance to anchor our souls in today–because you know as much as I do, we need an anchor for our soul now more than ever.
Today is Palm Sunday and marks the start of Holy Week. Easter is my favorite holiday, even over Christmas. The emotions of Good Friday and the joy of Resurrection Sunday are days I look forward to all year. I can’t help but notice the timing of the Easter season this year, and how it collides directly with what could possibly be the worst week America has seen thus far in the amount of lives that will be lost, and the amount of cases that will be reported. It seems so interesting to me that one week in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago started off just like many of our weeks did before this whole thing happened: celebratory, joyous, excited for the future. But every day that Jerusalem moved closer to Passover, the more tense the air got, the more fuel that was added to the fire against Jesus, and finally it all accumulated in the darkest day of humankind: the day Jesus died.
The last month has felt somewhat like an elongated Holy Week. Most of us started off March pretty great. Then it got darker. And darker. And darker.
At the time I’m writing this, we have lost more than 8,000 lives in America due to the Coronavirus. And by the end of this week–by the time we are observing Good Friday–we could–and probably will–lose thousands more.
Isn’t it something that the week we will be observing the One death that paid our sins once and for all will be happening simultaneously along the world’s worst pandemic in nearly 100 years? Every day that we get closer to remembering Jesus’ death, we will be watching people die all around us. And how many people will we lose that very Friday as we reflect on Jesus’ death?
All this to say this: We are in the darkest valley right now. I’ve read Psalm 23 over and over and over again since this year started, and today I read verses 4-6 in a little bit of a different light, and I wanted to share that with you. The verses are as follows, bolded words are mine:
"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
We will walk through dark valleys–that’s guaranteed, and everyone in the Bible did. David did, and as he details this in the above verses, there are some things we can take away from it. As we walk through the darkest valley right now, here’s what God is doing, and here’s what we can hold on to:
What happened on the worst day in history didn’t stay that way. Jesus died, but He didn’t stay dead. Sunday did come. Resurrection did come. Eternal life did come. We may be in the darkest valley now, but this won’t last forever. Because bad days never have the final say. Death never has the final says. Valleys never have the final say.
Resurrection has the final say. God has the final say. So let’s hang on. Sunday is coming.
But for those who might not make it to Easter Sunday this year, can we pray for them? The reality is so many people are questioning their own mortality in these times, and there’s never been a more opportune time to tell others about the hope and the life that Jesus freely offers to anyone who calls on His name (Romans 10:9-10). Pray for your friends and family. For healthcare workers, and our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. For those who’s eternities are hanging in the balance as they await the next week. God is still doing miracles. And we need salvation to flood this country. That will be my prayer this week: That the blood poured out on Calvary’s tree 2,000 years ago would flood America anew this Holy Week and Easter season. It’s not too late for anyone. Let’s do all we can to bring this message to those who need it, before it does become too late.
Thank you for being here during these trying times. If you ever need someone to talk to or pray for you, please feel free to reach out. Comments below are always welcome, as are DM’s on my socials. Remember, we are all in this together, and I’m loving and praying for you all. Please stay home, stay safe, and be wise.
Until Next Time,
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and You in Me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.” // John 17:20-23
Hey guys! Sorry it’s been a minute since I’ve posted. These past couple months have been crazy. Good, but crazy! But I felt compelled to write today in regards to what’s been happening the past week in our country. I haven’t been able to go on Facebook, Twitter, or even turn on the news without hearing about the abortion debate going on. I’m not going to talk specifically about that issue today, as I don’t want to argue or start any arguments. However, I do have thoughts on how we as followers of Jesus can aid in the situation, and any other circumstances where we find ourselves morally at odds with others.
I can’t help but to think of present-day America as Israel in the Old Testament. I’m knee deep in reading the Prophetic books of the Old Testament right now, and as I read, I see America written all over the pages, and it saddens me. It saddens me to see the peace Jesus offers traded for temporary pleasures. Good boundaries- set for our benefit- encroached on because we seem to think we know better. But the Word of God is timeless. What was true when it was written is still true today. And for those who think it’s outdated, I say we’re more like the nation God was speaking to in the day of the Bible now more than ever.
So what can we do in response to outrage, rebellion, and the protests going on challenging the good morals God has set in place, both now and in the future? Here are some suggestions:
“If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” // 2 Chronicles 7:14
Until Next Time,
P.S. If you feel compelled to leave a comment, please be respectful. This post is not intended to spark controversy or anger. Know it’s written in love and genuine desire to see the world changed for the better because of Jesus Christ.