A 6th Sense

Christianity is like a sixth sense, helping you understand your surroundings if you will. This could be similar to the accustomed smell of home, or the view from your favorite place in nature. Our five senses help us walk with life in a new way, heightening what we think we know of the world, giving us potential new experiences every day. Can you remember the first time you experienced the taste of something, sight of light for the first time, hearing your parents sing you lullabies to sleep, smelling fresh outdoor air, or the calming touch of a mother? It seems so long ago we may have first experienced these things that they become habit, something we just seem to live life with because that’s all we know. But where did the sixth sense come from and how did we find it?

I truly believe when you say yes to Jesus you begin to walk in a new way, in a sixth sense, enabling us to be able to interact and work alongside the Holy Spirit. This sixth sense is like an undiscovered superpower that takes time and practice to perfect. Walking this way opens a new door if you will to a whole new world that we’ve never tapped into. But what does this sense look like to people who don’t know Jesus? What does this look like to people with only five senses?

1 Samuel Chapter 3: 

Then the Lord called Samuel.

Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”

Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

Samuel mistook God’s audible voice for his own fathers because the voice of God was foreign to him. Samuel heard God…….but he didn’t really hear God, did he? Samuel was walking with five senses. How am I any different from Samuel? Where in our lives are we misplacing the works of God? Is it possible that even us too could completely be blind sided by the works of the Holy Spirit?

I kind of see this scenario similar to a large theater production. Writers spend countless hours, days, or months working on a script to which people are casted to play out these roles and intimate moments we enjoy to watch, but when the shows over we give our standing ovations to those in the costumes, not the script writer. Now don’t get me wrong, not everything is like life on a stage. There are many beautiful moments that go unscripted or in the form of improv. I just want to give credit to where credit is due.

Which character is God pulling your heart towards? Eli who helps his son recognize the voice of our heavenly father, or Samuel the man walking with five senses?

And how many senses are you walking with?

 

 

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“Girls and guys can never be best friends! It never works!” My friend Emily would say this as if it was the most important thing spoken from the pastor that past Sunday. We would all laugh about it and fight her on it, listing all the best guy friends we had trying to convince her otherwise. Although I was so against the thought of this I had to wonder if I could be wrong and guys and girls really couldn’t be best friends.

This past Sunday I listened to a sermon where it was spoken, “Those who know us the best, love us the most.” We spend so much time trying to hide so many things from the outside world. We hide our past, our pain, our hopes and fears. For some reason we allow a special few to know us inside and out, trusting these people with our hearts… something that is worth protecting.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

We expect those who know us the best to run away. We expect them to be disappointed in our mistakes and were afraid one slip up and well lose all the respect we’ve worked so hard to gain. It seems our “best friend” turns out to be the one closest to us. This person admires us, they support us, they believe and push us in the highs and lows of life.

I have been blessed with many wonderful friends throughout my life. Friends who have seen me at my worst, seen me in my moments of weakness where I let anger, bitterness, and jealousy get the worst of me. These friends have shown me what real love within a friendship should resemble.

You’re here to be a light, bringing out the God colors of the world. Matthew 5: 14 (MSG)

My friends do much more than fill the perfect description of a good friend, they show me a little piece of how God views me. Who do you think knows you the absolute best? I’ll give you a hint…it’s no one on earth! God knows absolutely every detail good and bad about you and loves you even more for it. From someone with experience, don’t miss what’s right in front of you. Don’t fall into the trap of believing the more someone knows the more space you’ll put between the two of you. You’re absolute best friends are a little example of what God’s love should look like. Knowing every detail about you and still loving you even more so every single day.

Everyone’s An Author

We all tend to be drawn to very intense stories with suspenseful characters and suspenseful moments but personally the novel itself always must have a good ending. As I was reading I realized there were many correlations of living a life with Christ and a novel. What kind of person do you want to be as you walk with Christ? How do we live a suspenseful life like these characters in a book? Lastly, What do we make most relevant in our story?

How do we become an interesting character? Many ask the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” This question is asked frequently. I couldn’t count on my fingers the amount of heartbreaking stories I’ve heard from family and friends about trials and tribulations that have affected them in one way or another. If you’re anything like me situations we have or things that happen in our lives cause us to shut down. We realize that feeling so deeply hurts; because of this we attempt to “turn off” these emotions. When this occurs we succeed at feeling less. We aren’t able to feel the true joy of special moments but we sure get out of the feelings of being alone and truly depressed. I’ll ask you a question now, “How do you think this affects your spiritual life?” Do you not think when you do this it also impacts what you feel in your spiritual life?

James chapter 1 verse 12 “For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.”

Like the way that an interesting story draws more people to read it, if we live our life like this our story will draw many to wonder why our lives are so worth living.

What kind of character do you want to be? Most stories have your typical “bad guys” and “good guys.” How do we differentiate the two? We look at their goal. The heroes and villains of stories normally both experience trials but how do they respond to them? What emotions do they harness because of these circumstances? Villains tend to harness anger and live through that and the result is hatred and decisions rooted in evil. Heroes see bad circumstances as an opportunity to help others. They grow up seeing the gaps and look for darkness in order to be a light to it.

“You’re here to be a light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. Matthew 5:14”

If we want to be a hero then we must do this, be a light to the darkness. What does this look like for us?

” Teach with your life. You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching. Now pass on the counsel to the followers of Jesus there, and you’ll be a good servant of Jesus. Exercise daily in God-a disciplined life in God making you fit both today and forever. Keep a firm grasp on your character. 1 Timothy 4”

A hero gains credibility by the way they live. Many know of superman because of the many lives that he’s saved. Our character and the way we live our life we show credibility to who we are in Christ. How is someone supposed to believe in a God who can do anything if we can’t keep a control on our actions or be patient and soft in the way we speak?

What is the point/theme of your story? There are so many types of stories out there. Romance, fiction, mystery, and bibliographies are just a few. If our life were a novel it would probably be under the autobiography section. An autobiography is a novel that you would write about yourself. The next question would be what is the point of your story? What would be the theme of the story be that you’re writing? The theme of the book normally depends on what’s most relevant in a story. What in your life do you make most important or what do you spend the most time on in your life that would contribute to the theme or your novel?

“The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It’s who you are and not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds. Luke 6:44-45”

We can never get away living a double life eventually those around us will see through our façade. Although we may try to live a typical Christian life if our heart isn’t in the right place it won’t take long to see. What type of story are you going to write for yourself? God has our perfect story written out in the most beautiful novel. Who do you believe is a better author? Will you allow God to guide you in writing your story or will you take the pen and attempt to write what you believe to be a better one.

The Story Of Ruth and Naomi-Viewed with A New Lens

“Where you go I’ll go, where you stay I’ll stay, when you move I’ll move, I will follow you.” A lyric from Chris Tomlin’s song, “I Will Follow.” I loved this song growing up and still hum the tune to this day. From assumption I thought this might have come from Psalms or Proverbs where many lyrical verses or scriptures are found. Did you know this verse comes from the Story of Ruth? A story growing up we assume is about loyalty to family and sacrifice. In truth, this story is a perfect example of redemption and a mother who was able to bring a dear friend/daughter in law to Christ.

As I read the story of Naomi and Ruth with a new pair of eyes two verses stuck out to me that had no significant meaning to me before today. Naomi loses her husband and two sons and both daughters are ready to stay with her and take care of her because she has begun to become weak and age (Miller). Naomi in tears tells her daughters to go home because she has nothing to offer them anymore. Oprah makes the decision to go home and Naomi says, “Your sister in law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her (Ruth Chapter 1).” Wait….so you’re telling me not only did Naomi let her sons marry women who didn’t believe in Christ but then she tells them both to leave to go worship their own gods even though she clearly needs someone to help take care of her in old age. She makes the selfless decision to try and give both girls a happy life and the opportunity to start over.

To fully understand the story to it’s potential we must understand the context of it. Naomi’s husband Elimelech had moved her and their two sons from Bethlehem to Moab to escape a famine. The religions in these two cities were very different. Bethlehem was a place that was sacred when it came to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Moab on the other hand is described as, “heathen, idolatrous, long-standing enemies of God’s people (Hampton).” The decision to move their family across the land caused their religious beliefs to be in the minority, which explains why both sons ended up marrying Moabite women. To have idols was completely normal and I’m sure would have been easy to conform to this religion. I mean how many of us would be the strong Christians we are today is if wasn’t popular or a “cool” thing to do?

Ruth has a special moment I believe is worth taking a closer look at with Naomi. Ruth tells Naomi, “Where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God (Ruth Chapter 1).” Not only does she sacrifice a comfortable life but in this moment she confesses that God is her savior and if that’s whom Naomi worships then that’s who she will worship as well. I am so glad I had the opportunity to re-read this beautiful story because here it became clear to me because of Naomi’s kindness and the way she carried herself and I’m sure the influence of her husband (Naomi’s son) that had passed she committed her life to following Christ.

With all of this said what is the take-away for us as a follower of Christ? Is there a bigger story than to just be loyal to your family? What if the story is a depiction of how the loyalty and kindness you display is a stepping-stone to guiding them to a life with Christ. Naomi never imposed her opinion on religion onto her daughter in law’s lives but simply lived the way God would have lived. Because of this, God helped redeem Naomi’s story of her families passing into a true example of love and loyalty and what that can do for the kingdom.

Sources:

Keately, J. Hampton. “5. The Rebellion of the Moabites (2 Kings 3:1-12).” Bible.org. N.p., 8 June 2004. Web. 27 June 2015.

Miller, Amy. “The Story of Ruth and Naomi.” The Story of Ruth and Naomi. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 June 2015.

Ruth Chapter 1.” The Bible. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 340-41. Print. The MessageVersion.

God’s Song

Guys I am super pumped because I decided to read Psalms and I noticed this common theme of story throughout the first 35ish books of Psalms or so. I decided to start writing some phrases that stuck out to me and then also realized I have never written a christian song before and I love to write music. So I want to share with you all my first song I’ve written in a christian aspect. I love it so much because it’s about 80 percent God and 20 percent me. Much of what is in this song is quoted directly from scripture in the message version. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

God’s word is better than a diamond,

better than a diamond between emeralds.

You write the book of hallelujahs and

your name echoes around the world.

Paint your grace on my pages,

in love that’s your common language.

God rewrote the text of my life

when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

Punctuate my life when I need rest,

We are the birds and you are the nest.

God’s word warns us of danger

and directs us to hidden treasure.

I’m so starved for your affection

your the map to show us direction.

Paint your grace on my pages,

in love that’s your common language.

God rewrote the text of my life

when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

Punctuate my life when I need rest,

We are the birds and you are the nest.

Nothing you do can change the ending to your story,

it’s not written it’s writing all for God’s glory.

Nothing you do can change the ending to your story,

it’s not written it’s writing all for God’s glory.

Paint your grace on my pages,

in love that’s your common language.

God rewrote the text of my life

when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

Punctuate my life when I need rest,

We are the birds and you are the nest.

Thank you Papa for letting us be a part of the best book there ever was

And giving us a purpose to your sacrificial cause

Pity the Internal/Punish the External

Over the last few months the topic of sin has come up a lot in my life. More than that, the realization that we as humans put sin on levels and try to decide ourselves whose sin is worse is a common mistake we make. This past summer God really worked in my heart and showed me that unconsciously I was “ranking” people’s sins. When I came to college I assumed that this lesson had been learned and I had accepted my mistake and was going to try to live differently. But God continued to bring this topic back up in my life in many different areas. It wasn’t until Francine Rivers spoke at my universities chapel that I figured out what was left for me to do. God wanted me to be transparent to the world and share with others the realization I had and he wanted me to not be afraid to share my own brokeness with other people. Many times when we find these realizations or hear something that we full heartedly agree with, is meant for ourselves. This lesson and “light bulb moment” I had wasn’t only for me to share with others, but it was meant for myself. I’m not only writing this for everyone whose reading but I’m writing for myself as well as a reminder. I don’t enjoy to display my brokeness on a website for everyone to see but I believe that if God wants me to write about this and be honest with whoever decides to read my posts then God will make something beautiful out of it. So here goes nothing, God put this topic on my heart over the summer and he hit me with what I call “God’s humility hammer” pretty hard.

“I have a special word of caution for you who are sure that you have it all together yourselves and, because you know God’s revealed word inside and out, feel qualified to guide others through their blind alleys and dark nights and confused emotions to God. While you are guiding others, who is going to guide you? I’m quite serious. While preaching, “Don’t steal!” are you going to rob people blind? Who would suspect you? The same with adultery. the same with idolatry. You can get by with almost anything if you front it with eloquent talk about God and his law.” Romans 2:17-24 (MSG)

It hit me like a hurricane to where my tears were the weight of this storm. I was so busy trying to help guide my friends through their life choices that I forgot to have someone to guide me. I lived a life of surface with God and my relationship never grew because I never focused on myself or the problems that faced me. So many times because of the misconception that we’ve been taught we start to think we live a better life with less sin because we have weighed our sins as less that those surrounding us.

So where did these thoughts come from? He hung out with the hated, tax collectors and the sick. So where in our lives did we get this twisted view that we needed to be hanging out with people that were just like us? Growing up a christian environment choosing the right friend group became a topic that was brought up in school and at home. We were told we would end up like those we surrounded ourselves with. Don’t get me wrong it is important to have a close knit group of friends that you can lean on but God’s whole mission was focused on the outsiders and the broken. The people that we judge at school or work are the people God CHOSE TO INVEST IN. Why have we created this wall of good people verses bad and what made up the wall that divides us? Who decided what is good and what is bad?

“I’ll call nobodies and make them sombodies; I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved. In the place where they yelled out, “You’re nobody!” they’re calling you “God’s living children.” -Romans 9:20-33 (MSG)

The divider that was created I believe has something to do with pitying the internal problems and punishing the external problems. This concept was implanted into my brain in high school. The way the disciplinary system works those who are caught maybe smoking, or drinking are immediately dealt with and most likely suspended or even expelled depending on the issue. But maybe some girls who are struggling with self image issues are maybe helped through counseling or are dealt with in a very humble manner. How did I figure this conception out? Because I was that girl. Senior year I was the girl who hated the way she looked and didn’t like anything she saw in the mirror. The one who hated buying clothes because having to buy certain sizes just made me feel fat. I bought into the lie that I was still striving to be sinless in the broken world. God showed me once I arrived at school through friends and christian novels that if we were made in God’s image then I was just hating the creation that God made himself. I was just as much at fault with sin as anyone else. Throughout this experiance I became very humbled and through scripture I was able to find truth and see through the clouded vision I grew up with.

“Basically all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners.” -Romans 3: 9-20 (MSG)

I was just the same as everyone else. Who am I to start looking down on others for mistakes that they make when I was making plenty of them myself? This is not an easy concept to grasp and I didn’t enjoy coming to terms with this because it is hard. I wanted to believe I was a good person and didn’t make any mistakes but we all make mistakes guys, were human. We all fall short of the glory of God so why are we making scales of whose sin is greater? What would the world look like if we started hanging around those that maybe aren’t viewed as your “typical christian.” If these imaginary wall between two groups of people came crashing down. Maybe we would start focusing on grace instead of judgement. 

“But sin didn’t and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin verses grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the messiah, invites us into life – a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.” -Romans 5: 20-21 (MSG)

Our purpose on earth isn’t to judge and try to find good friends or maybe do a few good deeds. Our purpose is to spread the gospel to whomever, whenever. Maybe as a christian community(including myself) we should start focusing on our true purpose on earth and not get so rattled by weighing the sins of others and comparing everyone to each other. We shouldn’t be evaluating the mistakes we make but the hearts of the people. Some mistakes are “broadcasted more than others” so let’s start checking our own hearts before we go about checking others. This has been one of the hardest lessons and a big humility step for me. I know that I will always have to wake up every morning and decide I am going to try to live a christian life and every day, month, or year I will continue to learn new lessons about the ways of God. Sometimes I know I will fall short and make plenty of mistakes every day but knowing that God’s at the bottom with open arms and his love and grace to catch me if I fall makes the crash-landing a bit softer.

A Little Piece/Peace of Jesus

Genesis 1: 27 (The Message) God spoke, “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature.”

God is like this giant puzzle. It has 500 pieces like the ones that take us hours to put together. But in this case imagine that 500 piece puzzle being more like 500,000 pieces. To where we could never figure out where each piece fits. And we can’t see the full picture. Now take each of us. Were more like a 100 piece puzzle. (Have I confused you yet? It’ll make sense soon I promise.) Because God is so big and we are so small we could never be like God. We don’t physically have the capability to be like God. The only one to be like God was Jesus being fully God and fully man. So if God is this giant puzzle of an image and we are just a portion of that how does God choose what pieces to put in our puzzle.

Hebrews 2:16-18 (The Message) It’s obvious, of course, that he didn’t go to all this trouble for angels. It was for people like us, children of Abraham. That’s why he had to enter into every detail of human life. Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people’s sins, he would have already experienced it all himself – all the pain, all the testing – and would be able to help where help was needed.

If God can see all couldn’t he see your life ahead of you? Couldn’t he see the trials you’re going to go through and what battles will be your hardest? What if he gave you the pieces of the puzzle you needed most. What if he gave you certain pieces to thrive on and help others thrive through him. What if he gave you strengths like empathy, strong-faith, patience, communication, discipline, being a leader, harmony, includer, positivity, relator, or a learner. We spend so much time looking at these like a curse when we should be looking at as a blessing. We look at these things like weakness’. We think empathy hurts to much when you take on the pain of others. Or we think that when we try to harmonize with people we start spreading ourselves to thin in relationships trying to please everyone. Maybe when your so positive you miss the realistic way of life that stares you in the face. If we were able to have all of these strengths and balance them we wouldn’t be human. But doesn’t it make life a bit easier knowing that Jesus had these strengths? That we have little pieces of God within us. (See I told you it would make sense soon.) That maybe instead of looking at these pieces like weakness’ we should be treating them as a God-given gift to bless the world. You have a piece of Jesus! It has to blow your mind like it blew mine when I realized this! I believe this is what was meant when God said, “We were made in his image.” Maybe this big puzzle when split doesn’t look like much. That when the big 500,000 number is split into 100 each it’s a bit blurry. You can’t know the picture of the puzzle if you only have 100 pieces. But when put together you start to see the vision. So maybe God meant for his people to work together and not apart.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (The Message) It’s better to have a partner than to go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there’s no one to help, tough! Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. Be yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.

So maybe now you can view yourself a bit more differently. We can be leaders like he led the apostles! Or maybe we can feel the emotions of others around us like Jesus could feel those who had faith! Maybe we were given the gift of intelligence like Jesus when he spoke to the men at the temple at the age of 12 and they were blown away by his knowledge! Gather together and use your gifts together to bless the world! So now go and take pride in the gifts God has blessed you with. Find peace in knowing that you have been given a little piece of Jesus.

You Make Me Brave.

You make me brave, you make me brave, you called me out beyond the shore into the waves.

Tonight this song was given new meaning. Tonight instead of singing the lyrics known by heart, I heard the message. As a little girl I loved to swim in the ocean deep into the water to the point where every time I got far enough my mom would say, “Honey you’re out too far swim back closer!” As I became older I became more afraid. I was aware of the danger that was in the depths of the ocean including sharks which might I add is a horrible fear of mine. Because, with more knowledge and experience came more fear. So I stay close to the shore where land is close and security is only a few steps away. This isn’t right. This is exactly the opposite of what I was supposed to be doing. I was listening to this beautiful song and beautiful vocals singing and I wasn’t even listening to the words. God calls us to go out into the waves beyond the shore into this chaotic mess. It’s filled with our deepest fears, troubles, even heartache. He called us to do more than just stay safe in familiar territory. So we swim out far enough to where all we see is blurred depictions around this big blue ocean. Do you see it yet? And when your deep enough to where you can’t stand anymore and you can’t touch the ground you rely on your ability to float and you rely on how well you’ve been taught to swim. Getting the picture? God wants us out far enough to where we can’t swim ourselves but where we swim on what we’ve learned. When were out far enough we have no choice but to rely on God’s teachings. When we lose sight of shore we have to search for God to know the direction to go. And when we feel like the ocean floor is too far deep and we’re too far gone we have to look up because if you’re looking straight you’re not doing this right. Where does your courage come from? Do you try to walk on this sin filled/broken earth alone? Are you carrying the weight of a million things to where your starting to sink? I know I am. I am/was surrounded by a life-raft enclosing on me with the inability to trust, the desire to be perfect, the self-hatred, and the doubt that God wouldn’t or won’t ever speak to me. But to get out of the life-raft circled around you must sink down to swim out. You must fall down to pick yourself back up. This past month God has been turning my heart inside out with truth and renewal. He is slowly showing me the dark parts of my heart. But he’s trying to do this with gentle love so I can speed up the process to become that much closer to him. God doesn’t promise an easy walk or swim in this case. God doesn’t say if we follow him our life is going to be perfect and we’ll have all the treasures of the world. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” -Acts 14:22. God just promises to love us through all the mistakes we make and all the times we try to swim alone and close to shore. He will encourage you to swim out but you are the deciding factor. But when you get the courage to go beyond the shore God will be your courage while we whisper, “You make me brave.”

As your love in wave after wave, crashes over me,  for you are for us you are not against us.