Why I Hate Four O’Clock and Fridays

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It’s sheer irony that I’m writing this at four o’clock on a Friday afternoon.

 

This post has been gradually constructing itself in my head for a few months now, through the ups and downs of assignments and writing projects and stress and joy and all the lovely and not-so-lovely things that my life’s made up of.

 

Every day, around four o’clock in the afternoon, I get this feeling I can’t quite explain. It’s something of dread, of feeling as though I’ve wasted the day, this overwhelming sense of not-enough-ness.

 

It’s weird.

 

And Fridays, you know, “Thank God it’s Friday?” Those days send me into a panicked frenzy…because there’s something that’s taken me a few YEARS to fully understand, but it’s been here for a while:

 

It’s the feeling that the weekend’s finally here, but I haven’t done enough.

Continue reading “Why I Hate Four O’Clock and Fridays”

The Roots of Life Purpose (And Why We Might Be Running Too Hard With This Mystical Idea)

the-roots-of-life-purpose-and-why-we-might-be-running-too-hard-with-this-mystical-idea

Sometimes we make this whole pursuing-your-life-purpose thing so difficult.

 

I get it.

 

Because I do it.

 

I texted one of my very best friends yesterday, spilling my soul on what was really going on in my life, and she reminded me of something so important that I often forget:

 

Pursuing our life purpose starts first and foremost with loving God, not getting caught up in what we can do for Him.

Continue reading “The Roots of Life Purpose (And Why We Might Be Running Too Hard With This Mystical Idea)”

When We Can’t Explain the World’s Pain

when-we-cant-explain-the-worlds-pain

Wordless.

 

Sometimes that’s what life makes us.

 

When we see the tragedies in the world, our own selves falling apart, the world splitting with injustice, and evil, and suffering – we don’t know what to say.

 

In our heads, we know that God is all good, all powerful, and full of compassion and love.

 

Yet when life makes us ache, brings us to our breaking point, and the world shouts, “How could you believe in a God that allows you to suffer?” we’re often silent.

Continue reading “When We Can’t Explain the World’s Pain”

The Key To The Christian Life (Hebrews Bible Study: Week 12)

The Key To The Christian Life (Hebrews Bible Study- Week 12).png

Welcome to the second to last week of our weekly Hebrews Bible Study, right here on Scattered Journal Pages. It’s almost over, and I can’t believe it.

 

These Tuesdays with all of you, spent digging into the Word of God have meant so much to me, as has your support. I adore the book of Hebrews, and the soul-level truths discussed in it. While I could never do the book proper justice, I have been loving taking the extra time to really study Hebrews and see points I would’ve missed if I hadn’t taken the time to slow down and really read.

Continue reading “The Key To The Christian Life (Hebrews Bible Study: Week 12)”

Easter, Repentance, and a Change of Focus

Easter, Repentance, and A Change of Focus

Hey, friends.

 

This post was originally going to be longer than it is now, but the first half of my post disappeared into thin air at midnight. Not sure how, but it did.

 

Anyway, because tomorrow is Easter, I wanted to talk about what it really means, the significance of forgiveness, and how repentance fits into all of it.

 

Easter is my favorite holiday because we celebrate being forgiven. This forgiveness – the forgiveness of sins – gives us eternal life in Christ. I tweeted this yesterday:

 

 

Easter is about life – eternal life, yes, but also our lives now.

 

Furthermore, I wanted to continue the discussion I started on Tuesday about repentance.

 

After reading the post multiple times, and reading the wonderful, thought-provoking comments you all left, I wanted to clarify a few things.

 

I’m not at all against repentance, if that’s what I seemed to imply in Tuesday’s post. For if we deliberately harbor sin in our hearts, we will of course damage our relationship with God. I’m not bashing confession in the sense that I think that we should never come to God about our wrongdoings.

 

In fact, that’s not it at all.

 

I only hope to lead us away from an obsession with repentance, one in which we’re constantly walking on eggshells is the Christian life. I don’t think we should live a life in which we’re so obsessed with trying to do what’s right that we make sure we fess up every single time we think we might have done something wrong.

 

To be totally honest, I don’t believe that’s what God has for us.

 

We are called to freedom and grace, and no longer do we live under a yoke of slavery to sin.

 

Galatians 5:1

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

 

Instead of living trapped to a life of “try hard>>fail>>confess>>do it all over again,” let us live in grace. Instead of legalism, let us listen to the Holy Spirit.

 

Now, that’s all well and good in talking about it, but how do we actually carry it out?

 

What does it really look like to live under grace?

 

1) Get to know God by reading the Bible.

 

I’ve written a few posts on this topic. Post 1, Post 2, and Post 3 (in reverse chronological order). The Bible is a blessing, not a burden. But it takes more than just hearing people say that for it to become true for us. Read the New Testament for a fresh view on grace, starting in Romans. You’ll see things differently. You’ll see the contrast between God and man, and how Jesus didn’t just “wipe our slates clean,” He gave us whole new slates.

 

2) Submit to the work of the Holy Spirit.

 

You know that nudge you feel when you know God’s calling you to do something? Listen to it. Go talk to that new kid and be their friend. Share your faith with that cousin of yours. Go step out in faith to do something that you feel God wants you to do, even if it seems crazy.

 

Do you feel God calling you to start a YouTube channel or blog about your faith? Do it! Do you feel like you’re being called to vocational ministry? Pursue that. The Holy Spirit speaks in subtle ways, but by following His leading, we are following God’s will.

 

3) Continue to pray for a passion for the Gospel.

 

Pray all the time. Pray that you’d have a desire to live for God. Pray that you’d be used by Him. Pray that He’d show you His plan for your life. Pray that He’d use you in the lives of others. Pray that He would equip you to share your faith – even when it’s absolutely terrifying.

 

Prayer helps us to advance in our relationship with God, and through it, we come to trust Him more and more.

 

We don’t need to overemphasize repentance because as we live in submission to the Holy Spirit and our new nature, the desire to sin will decrease.

We don’t need to overemphasize repentance because Jesus’ death has pardoned our sin and given us a new nature.

We don’t need to overemphasize repentance because God does not see our sin when He looks at us – He sees Jesus’ righteousness.

 

When we’re in the Bible consistently, we see the significance of things like Easter. The Resurrection. Forgiveness that washes away every last one of our sins.

 

When we keep our ears tuned to what we feel God is leading us to do, we live a fruitful life, and not one of destruction.

 

When we keep in communication with God through prayer, and see that He answers our prayers, our relationship with Him grows.

 

Simply, a change of focus is what we need. A focus on the finished work of Christ as opposed to the filthiness of our sins. And so often, that makes a world of difference.

 

Happy Easter, everyone. Instead of getting caught up in simple traditions, let us remember the true meaning of it all – of sacrifice, of forgiveness, and above all, of hope.

 

*aj

Selfishness, The Holy Spirit, and I’m Not Perfect.

Selfishness, The Holy Spirit, and I'm Not Perfect.

This is somewhat of a difficult post for me to write.

I’m writing this post to clarify a few things, and to apologize to all of you lovely readers.

I have a habit of writing the night before I post something, which is usually okay, but I’ve definitely made a few mistakes when it comes to that. Sometimes, I don’t let God guide my words and I end up saying things that aren’t necessarily inaccurate, but incomplete. And I want to address one of those posts today.

I wrote Fighting Selfishness on August 11th of this year. I don’t regret writing it, but there’s so much that I didn’t say, could’ve said differently, or just shouldn’t have said. For that, I’m sorry. I’d like to address that post and continue with what I was trying to say.

I wrote Fighting Selfishness because I saw in my own life that I had a tendency to be selfish. I like to do my own thing (which is okay in and of itself) but I was perhaps letting it get in the way of what I needed to be doing to help others instead.

That motivated me to write the post, but I missed a key element.

Sure, we should strive for selflessness, because selflessness is a good thing.

HOWEVER, if we are not being led by the Spirit, we will not be able to become more Christlike.

So here is my point.

Selflessness is possible for us because we have the Holy Spirit in us, growing us and leading us to become more like Christ.

There is no “try harder.” There is no “work more at it.”

And just so you don’t think I’m making this up, here’s a verse in Romans 14. This passage is talking about convictions and our freedom in Christ, specifically in regard to food, and I really like it. If you want to check it out, go here.

Romans 14:17

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

We have been given freedom in Christ to live in a way that is pleasing to God. Freedom means we “can” do whatever we want, but not that we “should.” We are no longer bound by the law and the Ten Commandments, because that is not what saves us!

Praise God for that, because we could never keep the law perfectly.

Back to my points on the selfishness article.

I didn’t say anything about the Holy Spirit there because I was so focused on how selfishness isn’t living like a true Christian should.

That’s not the point at all, though.

The point is to grow in an understanding of the amazing grace of God. To live by the Holy Spirit’s leading, and not by a list of do’s and don’t’s, and should’s and shouldn’t’s.

This is what prompts us to live selflessly.

 

I’m so sorry if my tone has ever been a “you have to do ____” instead of an encouragement to live out our faith with joy. I want to inspire us to live lives that are led by the Holy Spirit, and not just some laws. Because that’s not right.

We should live selflessly, yeah. But we shouldn’t be aiming to live more this or more that. Our aim should be to grow in Christ, to please Him, and to become more like Him. Not to follow some rules in order to be better people.

By living a life that is led by the Holy Spirit, our selflessness flows from that. Why? Because ultimately, it’s not about us. If we become selfless because of our own doing, then we’d have something to boast about, which we don’t. If we succeed at something, it will always be God working through us and not us doing it on our own.

That’s basically the point that I want to clarify today. I’m sorry that I didn’t say it before.

Thank you all for being patient with me as I grow in my own faith!

*aj

Confusion in Doctrine: I Can Handle That.

Confusion in Doctrine- I Can Handle That.

It’s crazy how many things go around as universally acknowledged truths when in actuality, they’re just some random person’s thoughts that people think sounds good.

In Christian circles, quotes become doctrine, and people get…confused.

A lot of people say, “God will never give you more than you can handle.”

Okay…well, if this is true, then why does cancer happen? Why do loved ones die without being saved? Why do disabilities happen? Why do thousands of casualties happen when fighting for freedom? Why do school shootings happen? Tsunamis? Hurricanes that wipe out entire cities?

So apparently, I can just “handle” all these bad things? Um, no, I can’t.

I can’t handle these things because I’m human. God never meant for us to handle these things alone, because welcome to the universe, we’re fragile.

However, it doesn’t stop there.

When bad things happen that we cannot handle, we are forced to rely on God.

Hard times come – trust me, I know – and in them we have a choice. We can either say, “I’m going to do this by myself,” or “God, the only way I’m going to get through this is by trusting You to help me.”

I can either rely on my strength, or God’s.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Romans 8:37

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

We are more than conquerors because Jesus is the conqueror. We weren’t the ones who did the conquering. He is, and gives that victory to us.

I read a blog post recently on a favorite blog of mine by Phylicia Masonheimer. It got me thinking, because I’ve thought this way for a while now.

I love how she phrases this point.

God gives us more than we can handle because what we can’t handle drives us to dependence on Him.” – Phylicia Masonheimer, Why God WILL Give You More Than You Can Handle. http://phyliciadelta.com/why-god-will-give-you-more-than-you-can-handle/

When we depend on Him, our relationship with our loving Heavenly Father is strengthened. It’s not because He wants to control us. He loves us, and wants us to know Him.

He created us, and saved our souls.

Life throws us more than we can handle all the time. He’s not the One who tempts us (as it says in James 1:13-15).

He has promised us that He will never leave us or forsake us.

Hebrews 13:5-6

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’”

Deuteronomy 31:8

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

 

It all comes down to this. Are we going to rely on ourselves, or on God?

Are we going to trust ourselves, or God?

Are we going to depend on ourselves, or on the only One who can handle our troubles?

*aj