I’ve Been Lied To.

I've Been Lied To.

I must say, life is quite confusing.

Everything in this world always contradicts itself.

For example, magazines tell us “Be yourself! You are wonderful just the way you are!” and then on the next page, “Nobody will love you if you don’t show at least 95% of your skin at all times. Be brash. Be bold. Throw away your moral compass.”

Wait. What?

I’m supposed to conform to this impossible image of a photoshopped person, and I’m also told to just be myself; both views are supported by most everyone.

Every day we hear:

“Nobody’s perfect. Embrace your imperfections.”

“If you don’t use this product or wear this item, nobody will like you.”

“Normal is boring. Be wild. Be free. Everything is a choice.”

AND HONESTLY, SOMETIMES I FEEL SO DISORIENTED BY IT ALL.

What’s right? What’s wrong? Am I just really weird? What if they’re right, and my life is a lie?

Ah, reader, don’t fret. Although the ways of the world are contradictory and insane, there is absolute truth that will stand forever.

For example, the world tells us that we are created by chance; accidents; mistakes. But do you want to know what God tells us?

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” – Jeremiah 1:5

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” – Psalm 139:14

The culture tells us that we are our own, and that what we do with our bodies doesn’t matter.

However, the Bible disagrees.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

The world says it’s all on us. We have no idea what’s coming. For all we know, the zombie apocalypse could come, World War IV is going to start right after that (because WWIII has probably already come and gone), and the sun is going to blow up one day and smash us to smithereens. And that’s why we buy lots of canned goods…????

Okay, as absurd as that sounds, when our lives aren’t based on truth, we won’t know what to think. But guess what. We are never alone, and God has promised us this:

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” – Matthew 6:31-32

 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

Another lie? How about this one.

“Put yourself first. You deserve it.”

Umm. ExCUSE me?

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:4

And I can’t resist this one.

“Love is a feeling. That’s all.”

No, no, no. This is real love!

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” – 1 John 4:10

And let me finish off with one last mistruth that destroys our culture.

What is it? That appearances are everything. All that matter. But let me assure you that that is not the case.

God looks at the heart. It doesn’t matter what anyone but He thinks.

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30

It’s absolutely true that the world lies to us. And it can really mess us up.

If we don’t believe the truth of who we are – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) – we won’t be able to move forward. We’ll be trapped.

But we needn’t be anymore.

*aj

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Truths To Help You Handle Change

Water Splashing on Rocks

It’s not like I want to accept the fact that change is inevitable.

I really don’t.

Change is hard, but it’s a major part of life.

Unless you’re a part of the 1% of the population that likes having a ridiculously unpredictable life, no stability, and enjoys being freaked out by new and scary things…

Then you’ll agree with me that CHANGE IS REALLY HARD. *insert lots of exclamation points here*

Change is hard because it is 1) uncomfortable, 2) different, and 3) scary.

And a lot of times, it seems impossible to handle.

But lucky for you, and me too, handling change doesn’t have to freak us out and make us go into turtle-mode. (Although, sometimes I’d like to.)

We have something that the rest of the world does not.

And that, my friends, is Truth.

Believe the promises of God.

Joshua 1:9

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Romans 8:28

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Isaiah 41:10

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

The Bible is filled with promises from God for us to believe. They’re absolutely true. God is with us. He has a purpose in everything, and all things will work together for good. He will uphold us with His righteous right hand.

Never EVER neglect the truth written in the Bible.

Don’t ever stop trusting God.

 

Psalm 9:10

“And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.”

Psalm 31:14-15

“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!”

He is worthy of our full trust! He does not forsake us, and ‘our time is in His hand’!

God does not change.

Malachi 3:6

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.”

Hebrews 13:8

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

When it feels like our world is crashing down, caving in, and just plain ol’ collapsing, God does not change. We can always count in Him to to stay the same. He is our stability. There is nothing to be afraid of when He is on our side.

So, how do we handle change?

  1. Listen to God’s promises.
  2. Always trust him.
  3. Count on Him for stability in the crazy days.

 

No, it’s not easy. It’s a lot easier to say than to do, and even I know that firsthand.

But it doesn’t have to be scary either, for if God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?

It’s really okay to sit back and trust. Wait on God. For He is faithful, true, and perfect.

Change is big, but God is bigger.

*aj

Knowledge and Belief: From The Head To The Heart

Waves in Ocean

My head knows, but my heart doesn’t always accept it.

Yes, oh yes, that’s how a lot of my life goes.

I know the truth. I know it.

But sometimes, I have a hard time believing.

There’s a saying that goes something like, “The eighteen inches between the head and the heart are the most dangerous eighteen inches in the world.”

Or something.

The point being, it’s not enough to just know something. It’s imperative that it’s also believed.

See, in my head, I know that God is good. Great, in fact. I know that He has great plans for me, and that He will never leave me or forsake me, and that I’m never alone, and that He has everything under control, and that I don’t need to worry.

I know all this. I really do.

But do I actually believe it?

Now here, I’m not trying to second-guess myself or anything like that. I’m not trying to “prove” that I believe and not just know, or “try to be better,” or whatever.

But it’s definitely more reassuring when I can believe something and not just know it.

For example, I can spout out facts all day long about how strong a trapeze is, and how there’s a totally-safe net under it, and how I have a tight harness, and how 105% secure I am on that trapeze. But it’s not very reassuring if I’m asked to get up there and don’t believe that I’m actually safe.

Right?

Because unless I believe something in my heart, pure and raw knowledge alone won’t get me to trust God with my life.

See, I know that God is good. Like I said. Like it says in the Bible. I know that He will take care of me, and I don’t need to worry.

But when the pressure turns on, and I have to trust God and trust Him alone, it’s hard. It’s hard to bring what I know in my head to be what I believe in my heart.

And every day I have a choice.

Because hard things happen, and life breaks us, and tears jump out of our eyes, and Satan stabs away our joy, we have a choice.

Do we jump on the trapeze in surrender and trust, or shrink back and spout out facts that we’ll never put into practice?

I’m going with the former.

I heard another quote, and it’s like this.

“Surrendering to God isn’t losing or giving up. It’s winning, because once we surrender to God, we have transferred to the ‘right’ side and we have already won.”

God has fought for our souls, and we have proof that He is good.

The Cross has proven to us that the love of God is great enough for us, that the grace of God is enough to carry us through it all, that the forgiveness of God is enough to change us from the inside out, that the peace of God is great enough to comfort us in terrible times of despair, and that the mercy of God was made manifest in the torture of His own Son – because of His compassionate and loving heart.

Doubts will creep in, and waves will crash down on me, and despair will plague me, and there will be times when I question if God is really enough. Times will come when I can’t see God past the cloud of worldliness. There are going to be days when I can’t feel the goodness of God, and it feels like Satan is winning.

But when I look at the Cross, it is the most powerful thing. The Cross is greater than all my doubts, insecurities, faithlessness, and hopelessness, for death itself has been defeated by what Jesus has done on the Cross for me.

The step of getting what I know from my head to my heart is a mere eighteen inches, albeit a very important eighteen inches.

The Cross is where knowledge turns to belief. There is proof.

Romans 5:8

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God loved us from the very beginning, but He proved it by sending His Son to save us.

Once we accept the Cross, there is a bridge between the head and the heart.

I pray that we would all accept the bridge, for it’s never worth it to live in unbelief!

*aj

Lessons From 1 Timothy

Stairs

You can’t write about the Bible if you don’t understand it. And you can’t understand the Bible if you don’t read it. Am I right?

That’s what I’ve been discovering lately, through studying the book of 1 Timothy.

First of all, I really really really love this book. Probably one of my favorites in the Bible. It’s so clear and helpful for real life. Because, let’s face it, this world is full of lies. Even in the church, there’s so much false teaching! And it is so prevalent, and ever so misleading. So here are a few extremely important points that I’ve discovered this week.

  • People teach falsely. Some on purpose, some by accident. But false teaching is a real thing. Just because someone claims to be a Christian, it doesn’t mean that we can listen to them ignorantly because of their title. We need to test everything.

So, how do we avoid listening to false teaching? First and foremost, the Bible is the only source of ultimate truth. How do you know if someone is giving you solid and true doctrine on the Bible? Well, check the Bible itself. And don’t base your life on one out-of-context verse. For example, here’s what not to do. John 11:35 says, “Jesus wept.” Going with this as my life verse, and knowing to live a life following after Jesus, I am going to constantly weep. After all, that’s exactly what Jesus did, right?

Okay, yes. That is ridiculous. But the point is, we must check all things with the Bible itself! We cannot add to it, or take away from it. This Book is the Holy and Inspired Word of God. Let’s not get it wrong.

1 Timothy 6:3-5

“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.”

  • Without understanding the Gospel correctly, we cannot understand life itself.

1 Timothy 1:15-16 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

 

If we mess up any of this, we will not be able to understand anything else. Without the Good News that Christ has come to save all, there is absolutely no meaning to life. Remember, my friends, if we do not understand that we are inherently sinners, saved alone by the amazing grace of God – and not ourselves –  there is no point in Jesus’ death. If we are saved by our works, why did He come? (That’s a trick question.)

  • We must understand who Jesus really is. Not some “good teacher,” not some passive, apathetic, random guy. No, Jesus is the Son of God, possessing ALL power, and He is ALIVE.

1 Timothy 3:16b

He was manifested in the flesh,

    vindicated [means proven true] by the Spirit,

        seen by angels,

proclaimed among the nations,

 believed on in the world,

        taken up in glory.

 

  • No matter how old we are, we can set an example for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Spiritual maturity has little to do with age, and we can lead others in Truth, regardless of being young.

1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

We are ambassadors for Christ, even as kids and teens (and adults, later). If we understand Truth, we must share it with others!

I hope you’ll take these truths to heart, and study the Bible for yourself. Really, it is such an encouraging Book, and the guide for our lives. It’s so important to understand the Bible correctly. It’s not just a book. It’s the Holy, Inspired, God-Breathed, Word of the Creator Himself. The source of Truth, amongst the lies. And it’s right here, to teach us to walk in godliness!

*aj

A Journal Entry: Who I Am, Who God Is

Okay. This isn’t exactly a regular post. (I’ll be back with a regular post next time!) I’ve felt all these things…and yet God has stayed by me. He’s gotten me through and He never changes or lets me down. And I hope that when YOU read them, you are reminded of who God is in spite of you are, too.
God, when I am faithless, you are faithful. (2 Timothy 2:13)
When I am hopeless, you are my hope. (Romans 15:13)
When my heart is breaking, you comfort me. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Psalm 34:14)
When I fail, your grace washes over me. (Hebrews 4:16)
When I am depressed, you care about me. (1 Peter 5:6-7)
When I suffer, you cry with me. (John 11:35)
When my world crumbles, you stand. (Psalm 94:22)
When I am not good enough, you are. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
When I don’t know how to love, you are love. (1 John 4:16)
When I am at a loss for words, you speak truth. (John 17:17)
When I feel ugly, you remind me that I was made in your image. (Genesis 1:27)
When I sin, you are perfect and holy. And you forgive. (Psalm 18:30, 1 John 1:9, Romans 8:1)
When I want to give up, you strengthen me. (Isaiah 41:10)
When my friends fail me, you are my best friend. (Proverbs 18:24)
When I disobey and run away, you are my good shepherd. (Isaiah 40:11)
When I am betrayed, I am your child. (Galatians 3:26)
When I am shaken, you are my peace. (Philippians 4:7)
When I am in battle, you give me victory. (Deuteronomy 20:4)
When the world hates me, you have the greatest love for me. (John 15:13)
When even my family fails, you are the Everlasting God and Father. (Isaiah 40:28, Matthew 23:9)
Remember His promises…and draw hope. His love and mercy and grace and faithfulness extend to all.
*aj