Living Every Little Moment: Experiencing A Full Life Right Here and Now

Living Every Little Moment Experiencing A Full Life Right Here and Now.png

As I learn to live, as I grow, as I experience life – I’m realizing that sometimes, life isn’t what it seems.

 

It’s hard, sure. It’s messy. Problems arise, we hurt and things break us, and it’s not easy to deal with all of it, oftentimes.

 

But truly…life can be simple.

 

I often overthink. Overplan. Overworry. Overdo everything, because I feel like I might mess things up if I don’t.

 

You know?

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Why We Need to Quit Trying to Save the World

why-we-need-to-quit-trying-to-save-the-world

Can we stop trying to change the world?

 

Listen close, for just a second.

 

I say: The world doesn’t need fixing, because it’s already been done.

 

I don’t mean the world’s perfect. I don’t mean the world’s not broken – just look around, steady your eyes on a little slice of the pain and you’ll be convinced in an instant that something’s sorely wrong, sucked nearly dry of hope.

 

But there is something greater than the brokenness that we see – something higher, bigger, more powerful than the messes we create for ourselves.

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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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For When You Need Grace to Replace The Guilt

For When You Need Grace to Replace The Guilt.jpg

Sometimes, a day’s worth of writing is made up of a lot of staring at blank pages and waiting for the words to come.

 

And some days, it takes so much energy to do simple tasks, to check things off a to-do list, to convince ourselves to do things we know we need to do.

 

And on those days, the ones filled with procrastination and lack of motivation, we can often let ourselves be overcome with guilt.

 

Guilt. The opposite of freedom.

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Christians, Other People Are Not the Real Enemy.

Christians, Other People Are Not the Real Enemy.

 

Christians, other people are not the real enemy.

 

In the crazy world we live in, its so easy to think that everyone hates us, everyone opposes us, and we’re the only ones that are “right.”

 

It’s easy to stand back and judge the world, those people who we refer to as our “enemies.”

And yeah, we probably have good reason to.

 

The people that want to take away our freedoms – freedoms to speak and think as we please – those people, well, they’re not our favorite.

 

But those very same people that we’re shouting “You’re the enemy!” at, we’re simultaneously judging. And that’s not okay.

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“Why Do You Seek The Living Among The Dead?”

Why Do You Seek

 

It’s been a few weeks since Easter. Spring has pretty much sprung, and the excitement around Eastertime has mostly faded.

 

But it doesn’t cease to be my favorite holiday.

 

See, while we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, we also celebrate the Resurrection of ourselves. Let me elaborate.

 

When Jesus died, we died with Him. Our sin was totally, 100% paid in full.  Why? In order that we might be freed from sin’s control over us and the condemnation that comes with it.

 

Romans 6:4-6

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”

 

And because we have died with Christ, He has raised us and given us new life. We are alive and free.

 

We have new life, and therefore, we are to walk in that newness. While I was contemplating this concept, a verse came to mind.

 

On Easter Sunday morning, three days after Jesus died, some women went to His tomb with spices to honor His body. Upon finding it, they were made aware that His body was gone.

The angel outside the tomb met them and said this, as it tells us here in Luke 24:5b. “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” And in verse 24:6 “He is not here, but has risen.”

 

That’s my question for us. Why do we seek the living among the dead?

 

In other words, why do we act as though we are still dead in our sins when we have been raised to life?

 

Why do we walk crippled and in defeat when Jesus has been victorious already?

 

Why do we forget this verse?

 

Galatians 2:20

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

 

Christ lives in us, so not only do we not have to live in defeat, but we can live in victory.

 

We are not dead. We are not enslaved to sin. We are not controlled by the very thing that condemns us.

 

We are alive. We have hope. We have assurance of salvation and victory.

 

1 Corinthians 15:57

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

So why do we seek the living among the dead? Why do we forget that we are, in fact, alive, and God sees us as sinless?

 

2 Corinthians 5:16-17

“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

 

God does not regard us according to the flesh, that is, our sin. So why do we do it to ourselves and others?

 

Simply because we see the imperfections in our own lives. But we need not dwell on them. If God sees us as new, why should we treat ourselves as if we’re dead? If God sees us in victory, why should we see ourselves as if we’re failures?

 

We shouldn’t.

 

We are not dead; we are alive with Christ. Let us live in light of that. Let us live constantly in the Word of God, seeing how He sees us. Let us live in the joy of our salvation, rejoicing in what HE has done for us. Let us live with a focus not on ourselves, but on God. When our focus is on Him, it is not on our sin, but on His perfection manifested in us.

 

Romans 6:10

“For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.”

 

To live a life “alive to Christ” is to let go of our old nature, and to embrace the magnificence of how God sees us. We are new, and there is no condemnation for us.

 

Romans 8:1

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

 

*aj

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

Independence: The Good and the Bad

Independence- The Good and the Bad

 

I caught myself the other day thinking something I tend to say a lot.

 

“I’ve got it.” I say it when I’m trying to do something on my own. I say it when I’m trying to take the burden off someone else to do something. I say it when I’m trying to handle something on my own. I say it to be independent.

 

And in this world, independence is such a thing that’s admired. That somehow by doing whatever we want because we’re strong and free, we are superior people. It’s a message that gets pushed and shoved in our faces – You can do it; don’t let anything stop you. You don’t need help.

 

And for some, this is an empowering message. An inspiring one that keeps us going on, knowing that we don’t have to give up. But it soon turns into a dangerous message, and here’s why.

 

The “just do it” message only works if you can do it. That is, if you’re capable.

 

And being human as I am, I’m not capable of everything. I collapse under stress. I don’t have perfect faith. I’m tempted at times. I stay home alone for one afternoon and find that OH MY GOODNESS WHAT WOULD I DO WITHOUT MY FAMILY. (I love you, family.)

 

Frankly, I live needing help. But we were meant to be this way. In needing help, we allow ourselves to be dependent on God, and we do not need to suffer alone.

 

Hebrews 4:15-16

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

 

Jesus sympathizes with us because He experienced everything we do. He was tempted. He experienced pain – He was crucified, for crying out loud! To think that we must always be independent is to deny the strength and peace that He offers.

 

Check this passage out as well.

 

Philippians 4:4-7

 

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

I like being independent, I really do. But I know I can’t always. I’m not perfect, nor should I try to be. It’s a good thing to lean on God, to rely on His strength. It’s a good thing because He has no capacity to fail. He will never leave, never stop loving us, never give up on us.

 

No matter what we do, we are loved and cared for. Our bad choices are not counted against us. And even when we doubt, God proves Himself to us.

 

Instead of chasing independence, let’s chase the One who gives us true freedom to rest in Himself. Because that’s the most freeing thing of all.

 

*aj