In the hard moments

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My chest hurts today. I’m not sure why. All I know is that it feels like someone is sitting on me. Someone large; Someone heavy.

I read this morning that:

God is working right now, but not so much to give us predictable, comfortable, and pleasurable lives. He isn’t so much working to transform our circumstances as he is working through hard circumstances to transform you and me. Perhaps in hard moments, when we are tempted to wonder where God’s grace is, it is grace that we are getting, but not grace in the form of a soft pillow or a cool drink. Rather, in those moments, we are being blessed with the heart-transforming grace of difficulty because the God who loves us knows that this is exactly the grace that we need.

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God knows what I need. Even if it’s not the cool drink of peace that I desire.

Remember who you are in Christ

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Social media is a mess. Everyone seems on edge. Nerves raw after what felt like a prolonged election cycle. Ready to explode when given the hidden signal or somebody sneezes on accident.

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My twitter feed has become a water pitcher filled with fear and adult temper tantrums. I get it, people are upset over the Presidential regime change. When you spend 8 years with one President, you are bound to feel shaken. Especially when the newly elected President is Donald “You’re Fired” Trump.

As a Christian it is easy to get caught up in the political vortex, to lash out without thinking. Easy to forget your identity.

Pastor Paul Tripp said it best in his devotional New Morning Mercies. As you go about your day:

“May God give you grace to remember your identity as His child in those moments when remembering is essential.”

Remembering is essential. As Mufasa told Simba in The Lion King, “Remember who you are.”

I want to challenge myself. I want to challenge you. Remember who you are when:

  • You are hastily typing out responses to a debate on Facebook
  • Your co-worker goes on a political rant
  • You feel compelled to correct someone in an un-Christlike manner

There is no need to pass along the negative emotions you are absorbing as you scroll through twitter.

Listen first. Limit your social media time/exposure. Be who God created you to be, remembering that you represent Him, now.

Book Review: How’s Your Soul? by Judah Smith

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When our souls are out of alignment with God’s truth, life can become a daily struggle. The “inside you” takes over, with false feelings reactive to present circumstances. In panic, we let external forces dictate what is true.

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Do you ever feel like you are just surviving, struggling to live one day at a time? I know I often do. Judah Smith writes that survival is not enough. Frustration, restlessness, and boredom do not have to be the soundtrack of our lives. Rest and fulfillment can be found in the soul’s true home: God.

Judah Smith’s How’s Your Soul? is challenging:

“It’s easy to love those who love you. That’s what Jesus told his disciples in his famous Sermon the Mount (Matthew 5:43-47). But it takes a divine love, a supernatural love, to love those who do not love us back. Yet that’s the only kind of love that will change the world. And it’s the only kind of love that will bring lasting satisfaction and health for our souls.”

How’s Your Soul? is also one of those books I haven’t wanted to read. Truth bombs hurt! But God has been using this book to work on me. Calling out areas of my life where I’m struggling but didn’t realize it.

“People sign up for helicopter Jesus all the time. I cannot wait to follow Jesus, they think, because he’s my heavenly helicopter. Get me out, Father! Hoist away, Jesus! Beam me up, Scotty! I think I just inserted Star Trek into the Trinity. Sorry about that. Storms hit, and we say, “Jesus, I don’t want to stay here. I don’t like this at all. It’s windy. It’s rainy. The waves are big. Where is my heavenly helicopter?” And Jesus replies, “I’ll be your anchor.” We want out. We want an escape. We want someone to remove us from the storm, but Jesus wants to be our strength and stability in the storm.”

I recommend How’s Your Soul? Especially if you find yourself treading water. Just prepare for a spiritual shake-up, Judah holds nothing back.

I was given a copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own.

How’s Your Soul Quote: Permission Before Restriction

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“It’s indicative of God’s grace that he gave permission before restriction. He said, “You can eat from every tree except one.” How many trees were there? Hundreds? Thousands? Adam and Eve could eat from all of them except one; the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Think about that. The odds were stacked in their favor. God wasn’t trying to trap them. He didn’t give them impossible commands and then laugh when they failed. He made it as simple and straightforward as possible. He set them up for success. He gave them the world, but he gave them limits too.” – How’s Your Soul? (Judah Smith)

Book Review: Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst

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Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst is a book to help you take the rejection life throws at us and give to God who is waiting for us. This is not a self help book that promises relief in three easy steps. Lysa’s points on how rejection affects life will hit home with most people. She makes the book personal, sharing feelings that are genuine and relatable.

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This book is not designed to be read in one sitting. It is designed to be read a chapter at a time so that the thoughts of the author and Biblical truths can be digested into your life. This is a book you put down to think, pray, and sometimes cry over. Yet at the same time, you’ll want to keep reading because you found the topic so engaging.

Rejection hurts and can cause thoughts to grow that are not true.

We have all been rejected at some point in our life. Rejection hurts and can cause thoughts to grow that are not true. Not only did I learn how to deal with past rejection and how to stop rejection pain from taking root. But I also learned that by extending the same love God gives to me, to others, I can help stop the cycle of rejection.

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After reading Uninvited, I have thought differently about the things that are said and done to me. I have thought about my own actions and words toward not only myself but also my friends and family. Uninvited is definitely a book I would recommend to others, be prepared with a highlighter.

God’s love isn’t based on me. It’s simply placed on me. And it’s the place from which I should live…loved.

I was given a copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own.

Playing Videogames Like a Christian

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To play videogames as a Christian, however, requires being honest and discerning not just about their content, but about their value. The entertainment games provide is just one of the many values intrinsic to interactive media. Let’s play games responsibly, with discernment and moderation, but let’s dig deeper. Let’s tap into the many values of games, and ask the Lord to open our eyes to values we’ve failed to see. In playing games Christianly, we may just become more self aware, more mindful of our neighbor, and more in love with our God.

Thought Drew Dixon did an excellent job on this piece. Read the full article here

Rejecting the Story

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We minimize and reject portions of the story God is telling through our lives. Stuffing those experiences, those moments we don’t want to talk about, away.

Wounds become scabs. Ready to be made raw at a moments notice. A simple comment made; A scene from a TV show. Pain discovered anew.

A photo by Wilson Lau. unsplash.com/photos/MvjO-aMRwkE

Walking grief is the new norm. We don’t even know that we are living in this manner, sick. Ignoring the bigger story God is weaving. Denying that pain has occurred. Until one day, someone speaks truth. Giving light to the darkest depths of anguish.

Expectations rule us. We perceive that others do not want to hear what we are going through.

“They are sick and tired of us talking about this,” we say.

A pit of lies.

And yet we live in denial of the story being written. Telling God that He is not there in that moment. While failing to realize that He has never left.

It’s jarring to read about video games one day and then infertility the next. It’s uncomfortable.

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