Jesus at the Center of Everything // on how the pursuit of Jesus is so much more fulfilling than we could ever imagine

Jesus at the Center of Everything on how the pursuit of Jesus is so much more fulfilling than we could ever imagine

It’s funny how God speaks, sometimes.

 

I think I often expect it to be audacious and resonant, in the moment. A distinct voice from Heaven as I’m reading my Bible or writing in my prayer journal. But lately, I’ve realized that when we’re looking for Him to speak, and seeking Him in every area of our lives, we can’t help but hear His voice in the littlest things.

 

Because I’ve come to this realization, though it’s taken me a while –

 

God is meant to be at the very center of our lives, the One that guides everything we do – not just the Being we worship in some set-aside times of the week or the day – but the reason we do everything we do.

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How I Find Adequacy in the Face of Failure

How I Find Adequacy in the Face of Failure.jpg

Sometimes, we carry those weights around that we don’t even know we’re carrying.

 

We bear these burdens every day…over…these issues that we think are minor, but really aren’t.

 

And then eventually, the truth comes out, the answers shed light on why we’ve been thinking and working and living and dying the way we are.

 

This all sounds so vague, I’m sure. Maybe I can explain just a little piece of my heart on this Tuesday morning.

 

Adequacy is a huge deal.

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When Your Soul is Longing to Be Enough

when-your-soul-is-longing-to-be-enough 

Enough.

 

I have a love/hate relationship with that word; the whole concept of adequacy and fullness.

 

Because deep inside of me, there’s this longing to be truly enough…and an aching dread that I never will be.

 

I know that sounds extremely un-Christian and negative, so please do hear me out. This is something I think really needs to be addressed.

 

In a world that seems to require perfection, how can we, as imperfect humans, truly live freely?

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Jesus Has Made You Enough (Hebrews Bible Study: Week 10)

Jesus Has Made You Enough (Hebrews Bible Study- Week 10)

Welcome to the tenth week of our Hebrews Bible Study, everyone! This week we’re contemplating Hebrews 10, one of the fullest and most exciting chapters in all of Hebrews. I know I keep saying this, but Hebrews 10 is seriously another favorite chapter in this book.

 

Grab your favorite drink and a Bible, and come glean truth with us. You’re welcome to start right here, even if you haven’t read all (or any) of the previous ones. However, if you’d like to, feel free to read through the past nine weeks’, listed below.

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It’s Not About Me.

Boat in Ocean, Sufficient Grace

Am I the only one that sometimes thinks that life is all about what I do?

“I gotta do this…I gotta accomplish that…I better make sure I do this thing…I couldn’t ever forget about that…” And on and on.

Because somehow, in the deep and dark recesses of my mind, there’s a little voice that sometimes says to me, “Amanda, you better do _______ or it’ll surely be the end of the world.”

Riiiiiightttt. And guess what? I fall for those stupid little tricks every time.

If I only do this, people will like me more.

 

 If I only accomplish this faster, God will be more impressed with me.

 

If I would only dress this certain way, people would notice me and it would make my life better.

 

*groans*

Why is it so hard to remember that my life is not about me?!

Remember Ephesians 2:8-9, anyone? For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

 

Somehow or other, I forget this sometimes.

It. Does. Not Matter. How. I. Do. In. Life. Because. I’ve. Been. Given. Grace.

Because of my faith (ALONE!) I’ve been given grace, which has saved me. And guess what? This isn’t my own doing, because it’s a gift.

Imagine giving someone a gift that was extremely expensive and the only one in the world. Instead of them enjoying their gift (and being profusely thankful), they insist that they earned it because of everything they do for you. You simply shake your head and try to explain that what they do is great, but them receiving the gift has absolutely nothing to do with what they’re doing. You just love them and wanted to bless them. But they insist that they had something to do with it.

Human, you don’t get it. I gave you this gift because I love you. You couldn’t earn it, you weren’t even close. This was a gift, not a prize. Love, not payment. A blessing, not a reward.

And I have to relearn this every. single. day.

And guess what, everyone? God is giving me grace to relearn it every day. Because why?

2 Corinthians 12:9. “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.”

 

His grace is sufficient for me. There’s enough grace for me as there is enough water in the ocean for a baby krill.

Life isn’t about me, it’s about Him, and what He’s done for me.

It’s so easy for me to focus on my mistakes, comparing myself with others, and how good my performance turns out to be.

But I have to remember (I think we all do) that our gift of salvation rests not upon what we do, but upon His grace.

Because it doesn’t have to be about me.

*aj

Covered by the Cross

Covered by the Cross

Sometimes, I think we see ourselves as dirt.

Yeah, something like that. Like maybe we don’t feel like we are good enough.

Or we don’t believe that God hears our prayers because we think we are so sinful and hopeless…

But we’re not.

We’re not hopeless. We’re not seen as sinners anymore. We’re not living under the law. Why? The blood of Jesus rescued us.

Hebrews 10:19-23 says this to us in encouragement.

 

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”

We have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus. Because of His death, we have communion and a relationship with God.

Because of the blood of Jesus, we are seen through the lens of His holiness. The curtain between God and us has been torn. His love for us broke the separation.

We have a full assurance of faith! Our hearts are sprinkled clean and we are counted pure. We have hope! And God is faithful.

That passage is soooooooo encouraging to me. See, I know that my sin nature is, well, sinful. Nobody needs to tell me that. HOWEVER. My sin does not define me, because it has been paid for. The blood of Jesus (via the cross) is what purifies me. Not by anything I’ve done, of course!

There’s one thing that’s the most important to know: The Cross is enough.

 

I can’t do anything to add to the finished work of Christ because it has already been done.

We are not perfect, but we are holy because of Christ. He has rescued us and poured His holiness over us.

There is nothing we can do to make Him love us more, to hear our prayers any better, to give us more blessings, to make us “less sinful”, to make us more joyful. It’s been done.  We are loved infinitely, and we will never be loved or accepted by God any more than we already are.

The Cross covers it all.

We are pure. We are loved. We are adored. We are accepted. We are holy. We are blameless. We are redeemed. We are worthy. We are wanted. We are hope-filled. We are defined by the Cross. We are blessed. We are children of God. We are saved. We are good enough. We are righteous. We are forgiven. We are more than conquerors.

But why are we all these things?

We are all these things because of what Jesus has done. We are all these things, yet we cannot boast about it. Why? Because when we were undeserving, He came to save us.

 

Seriously, we did not do anything to earn this. It’s a free gift.

And that’s what makes it so AMAZING. We are forgiven because of the blood of our Savior.

We are holy, righteous, and redeemed. We are loved, and we are forgiven.

We need to live in light of that.

*aj

Truly Satisfied

Beach-Cliff-Sand

Even if I might sound like I have all of my life figured out and perfect, it’s not so. Don’t worry. I ain’t perfect.

Truth is, I’m not content all the time. Really. I have a tendency to worry about things way too much. And even though my head knows that worrying does nothing, my heart jumps in the way and makes me forget how secure I really am in Christ.

I mean, what if I don’t have enough money to pay for [insert important thing here]?

What if I can’t get the [insert “needed” thing here]?

Although I’ve read this verse in Hebrews before, it stuck out to me this time.

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?’”

Sometimes we might let something other than God drive our lives. For example, money.

Here is the worldly life in a nutshell.

You go to school from 5 years old to 18. You’re supposed to get good grades to get into a “good college”. You go to college for a few years and “you better get good grades, or you won’t get a good job.”

So you finally land a good job. How do you know if it’s a good job? (Although this is a little sarcastic, it’s kind of true.)

You ask the following questions:

  • Does it pay well, so that I have enough money to both take care of me and/or my family and still have enough money to buy what I want? Really: Can I get what I want out of it so that I’m comfortable?
  • Do I like it? Rephrased: Does it make me happy and comfortable?
  • Can I imagine doing this for the rest of my life? Meaning: Is it enough to fulfill me?

See, there’s nothing wrong with having a good job. In fact, it is truly a good thing and a blessing. However, we need to be able to say, “If everything was taken away from me: my earthly pleasures, my home, my great job, my best friend, my Starbucks, my phone, my warm bed, and everything else along with it, I would be content.”

I got to hear Leslie Ludy speak yesterday at a conference. One point that she made stuck out to me. (This is paraphrased; so don’t quote her or me on these exact words.)

“If you’re not finding your contentment in knowing that Jesus is all you need, and looking to find contentment somewhere else, you will never be content.”

Am I finding my fulfillment in the amount of cash in my bank account?

Am I finding my fulfillment in my stuff or my circumstances?

Do I really believe that Jesus is enough?

Because Jesus is enough.

 

Confidently, I will say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?

 

My last post was about how God is satisfying enough, and I guess that’s what I’m trying to say here too.

This can go another way as well.

How about we chat about love for a moment.

The world says that true love comes from a human relationship that makes me happy. That satisfies me. That gives me the fairytale ending I want.

But – like temporal stuff – it’s temporal, unless it’s an outpouring of the eternal.

Let me explain.

Because I am content with the love of God inside me, and I know He is enough for me, possessions take lesser importance. I can enjoy human love more because I already understand what Real Love looks like.

I can rejoice in all circumstances, because I know that my life is in the hands of God.

What can man do to me?

Whether I live or I die, it’s a win-win.

Keeping our lives contented – not because of possessions or relationships – comes from finding satisfaction in God alone. Because God is enough.

No worries here. Lay ‘em down at the Cross.

By realizing the significance of the love of God, you’ll find your satisfaction.

*aj