Four Life Lessons from SoulFest 2015

SoulFest 2015

Good morning, my friends.

Just as a heads up, this post is going to be shorter than usual, for it is already 1:30am on Friday night as I’m starting to write this and I’m exhausted and about to pass out. That delicious chocolate hazelnut coffee I had at 9pm has stopped working, so I’m on the verge of collapsing.

I’ve been at SoulFest in New Hampshire since Thursday, and Friday night I was at an amazing show until midnight. Hehehehe.

So as a tribute to this amazing annual Christian music festival…I’ve gathered up a few life lessons to take home with me and share with you.

  1. The Gospel is NOT something to be ashamed of.

Over and over again, artists and speakers alike are sharing their faith in front of thousands of people. You know why? Because the Gospel changes lives from the inside out. It’s not a cult…it’s a relationship with the Creator of the universe; a relationship that we were made to crave. It’s so amazing, and so inspiring when someone shares their story, because it is so true that we will never be satisfied in life until we know the love of God.

  1. God sees us as beautiful, and there are no mistakes.

We all have a story being written. There are no mistakes written by the pen of God, only beautiful purpose. And beauty comes from broken things, like us. We’re all sinners, saved by the amazing grace of God. We are seen as flawless in the eyes of our Creator, for our being saved has absolutely nothing to do with what we’ve done. His perfection is given to us, for He is the picture of love.

  1. God isn’t finished.

Just because life is dark, it doesn’t mean the night will last forever. The sun hasn’t died. His love for us is as sure as the sun, as is His purpose.

He never will leave or forsake us, and He can see it all. Like a song I heard live today says, “To You, my future is a memory.” (Already There by Casting Crowns)

He isn’t finished. Just keep trusting!

  1. God can use anyone.

Our life purpose doesn’t necessarily have to be singing on a stage in front of thousands of people, or it might be. Our ultimate life purpose is to bring glory to God and others to know Him, so whether that’s singing every day for a living, being a light in your school, raising kids as a stay-at-home-mom, or whatever it may be, God will use all of us. Are we willing?

When I come to full consciousness, I will have more to say. But for now, I do not, and I’m just going to ponder these four truths in my mind for a while (*cough cough* as I sleep).

Enjoy your lovely Saturday. I’m praying for all of you!

*aj

Advertisements

Dear Future Husband…

Couple, Beach

Turn on the radio, and you’ll hear an all-too-familiar pop song.

I mean, a lot of us probably know it, but have you ever listened to the lyrics?

Dear Future Husband by Meghan Trainor is a very…interesting song.

The opening lines are as follows:

Dear future husband,

Here’s a few things

You’ll need to know if you wanna be my one and only all my life.

 

That sounds good so far. Every person needs to have standards for their future spouse. Nobody needs to marry a gnat.

But what about the first verse?

Take me on a date

I deserve it, babe

And don’t forget the flowers every anniversary

‘Cause if you’ll treat me right

I’ll be the perfect wife

Buying groceries

Buy-buying what you need

 

Annnnd here is where we get off the train.

She “deserves” a date, and flowers every anniversary. If you deserve something, what makes it special? If I deserve to be taken on a date, where’s the fun in that? The best thing about a marriage is that signs of love can be spontaneous. Um, and what about a little thing called humility?

And what about this: If you treat me right, I’ll be the perfect wife. That’s a big if. So, by taking this relationship advice, I learn that

-My marriage is going to be all about me

-I just need to uphold my end of the deal, to do 50% of the work.

I think that we all know that a marriage (or any kind of friendship or relationship for that matter) takes work. You can’t just stick with it when it’s easy. You can’t commit to “just your half of the bargain.” And you can’t give up when it gets tough.

I agree with Meghan in the sense that you need to marry the right person, and yes, someone who will treat you well. (We are all children of God! Nobody is better than another.) But I’d take a slightly different approach to this whole thing.

Perhaps, we should really look for someone who loves God over everything and everyone else, including you.

 

Yes, I will look for someone whose life purpose is to live for God. Not a cute guy who has some religion mixed into his life every week or so. Because, as I have seen in my parents’ marriage and many others’, if God is the defined center of a marriage, it will be able to withstand even the strongest of trials.

Because trials will come. God has created marriage to be a beautiful thing; to reflect His perfect love for us, and Satan wants nothing more than for us to corrupt it.

What else should we do? Pray for our future spouse.

 

They need it. We can pray for their life, for them to be surrounded by good Christian friends, to be a person of integrity, to understand the Bible clearly, to love their family now, to be humble, to love others, to be bold in their faith, and so on. Won’t it be amazing to someday have your future spouse say to you, “I prayed for you, my love, and God has created you to be even more amazing and godly than I imagined.” (Is that not just so beautiful??)

And one of the most important things you could ever do, is be the person that your future spouse will want to marry.

Girls, do you want a man that will put God as the center of His life? Well, you need to put God as the center of your own life.

Guys, do you want a girl who will be a good mom to your future children? You need to be a good brother to your siblings, because you’re going to be a father.

Be who your “dream spouse” will be searching for. Be the godly influence among your friends now. Oh, we can’t flirt with the “bad boys.” Ladies, that’s not what a man of God will be looking for.

Guys, don’t be afraid to be the change. Don’t be afraid to stand out and be a leader. Being “cool” won’t matter in ten years.

I know, I know. I’m only fifteen right now. I needn’t be consumed by finding a spouse right now. (And don’t you worry. I’m not.) But there are some very misleading things that the culture tries to tell us about relationships that we just CAN’T afford to listen to.

For example,

-If your spouse doesn’t make you happy at all times, just bail. It’s all about you, after all.

-Hard work isn’t worth it. If your relationship doesn’t flow naturally, move on. You don’t need extra stress in your life.

-Love is a feeling. When the glowing feeling wears out, well, you’re out of luck. May as well be miserable for the rest of your life.

No, everyone. Love takes work. But it is so much more rewarding than just a feeling. There are so many celebrities nowadays that get married and divorced around five times or more in their lifetimes…isn’t that just horrible? You can’t pursue love as an emotion. It’s not something to be treated as shallow. (Though, it is treated that way far too often.) True Love is what flows out of being loved by an amazing God who gave His life for us.

Love is hard, but worth it. Because yeah, the feelings will tag along, but the root is deep. 🙂 And we can’t afford to forget that!

Love isn’t all about us. Marriage, though it can be quite fulfilling, is about two people committing to each other, for better or for worse. It’s not conditional. God didn’t love us because we held up our end of the bargain.

He loves us no matter what we do, and in response, we love Him back.

Just like our human love, I suppose.

It’s not all about us, or what we are going to get out of it. It is a union between a man and a woman, that God joins together. And it is most amazing.

So, Dear Future Husband,

I am praying for you. I pray that every day you will become closer to God and understand His Word better.

I pray that I will become the woman who God has called me to be, and that He will keep preparing me to meet your needs.

I don’t know who you are, but I do love you already.

And I pray that no matter what comes, we will each stand strong and do what God has for us to do.

Love, Your Future Wife

*aj

Someone Understands!

Desert Sky Sunrise

Do you ever feel like God just wouldn’t understand?

Like He couldn’t care about you? Or that because He is God, He would never be able to understand what it is like to be a human? How to help you with your problems? “He isn’t like me. He’s invisible and is probably busy with all His God-like duties.”

Hebrews 4:14-16 says,

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 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.”

It’s like the classic teenager’s excuse not to talk to their parents about anything. “They wouldn’t understand, they’re not my age.” Okay, well, they were your age. Did you think they were born adults???

It’s the same with Jesus.

Yes, He is fully God. But He was also fully human, and in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

 

Jesus is the mediator (also called “High Priest”) between us and God. He isn’t “un-relatable” or “doesn’t understand” or is too far off to get involved in our lives. He lived our lives. He was fully human. He fully sympathizes with our weaknesses! Jesus was tempted to “steal the cookie,” just like we are. (Okay, maybe not cookies. Cookies probably didn’t exist in the first century.) Just as we are tempted to sin, He was. Just as our hearts get broken, His did too. He was fully God yet fully human, and we can’t take that lightly.

We can’t hide from God. First of all, it is impossible. Second of all, He doesn’t want us to. He loves us and wants what’s best for us. He wants us to get to know Him. He is our Heavenly Father and paid the penalty for our sin so we could spend our lives (and eternity – in heaven) with Him. He wants us to draw near to His throne (pray) CONFIDENTLY, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

In time of need – for me, that’s every minute. Why do we have confidence? Because we are His children, and He loves us ever so much. His grace covers us, and will help us. He wants us to come to Him.

Jesus understands what it is like to be tempted and to suffer (hello, he was tortured and executed the most painful way possible). And Jesus is God! God wants us to come to Him, because He knows how much we need Him. Jesus, our High Priest, sympathizes with us and is on our side.

Isn’t it great to have the GOD of the UNIVERSE on our side? Empowering us! Giving us GRACE! Helping us through hard times! I don’t know about you, but that’s really encouraging to me.

Don’t ever forget that.

*aj