What I’m Learning Right Now

A friend and I are going through Hebrews right now together (she lives in the DC area, and I’m in NM- I find it really sweet to be able to still walk together in Christ even though we’re so far away from one another. It’s also an easy way to keep each other accountable- and a convenient way to stay in touch!).

We’re using She Reads Truth as our guide, and it’s so great! Not only is it cute, which I’ll be honest is a huge plus, it separates the days- so friend and I can say, ‘hey this week I’ve got community group, lots of work, and a pretty busy schedule, let’s only chat up to day 12 today.’ It’s also laid out to make you read, study, pray, and live the verses you read that day- to dig deeper than what you maybe have read/studied before.

hebrews

So far, so good. Hebrews is full of reminders that Jesus is our true high priest, and that his sacrifice is it. No other sacrifice is necessary, nothing we can do can alter this.

“What this new covenant does is implant into the heart of man a new nature, impelling him to act righteously. No longer is his conduct directed by an exterior law but by the law of Christ within him.” -AW Tozer

Tozer doesn’t mean that we don’t have to follow the law (we do), but our standards are higher- they are heavenly standards. In my mind, if the law says not to kill our neighbor because they stole from us, let’s not only not kill- let’s love. Let’s provide them with the items they need to succeed (so they don’t have to steal).

Overall my heart is reminding me grace and mercy all day, everyday. What does this mean? How does it look? What is my call to it?

Yeah, if you can answer these questions for me, that’d be great.

we-have-this-hope

Treat Yo’Self (lavender edition)

I’m a firm believer in the Tom Haverford/ Donna Meagle mantra of “treat yo’self.” I think, as an introvert (that’s cool to be now, right?), treating myself means a day away from people. Where better to go than a lavender farm!?

Lavender is LITERALLY my favorite smell. The drive up to Purple Adobe Lavender Farm was less than peaceful. The drive is only suppose to be 1.5(ish) hours from Albuquerque, but due to terrible traffic and small town fiestas the drive took 2.5 hours! I do not handle stressful driving well. I can admit that.

BUT all of my aggression dissipated as soon as I stepped out of the car at the farm! I mean, seriously, it has that much of a calming effect. The farm has the cutest little tea shop where they were serving lavender tea, gluten-free scones, and lavender gelato. Ummm, yes please to all three!

They also have a meditation garden. It was a sweet place to pray to God, and thank Him for this day. For that gorgeous NM sky. For different smells and tastes. For time apart from people. For people. And for being able to relax and find rest in Him. I’m going through Hebrews now with a friend, and am reminded that taking a day of rest is not selfish, it’s not lazy- it’s for Jesus. And not in the “that’s my excuse for doing nothing today,” way- it’s for Jesus in that when you rest you should be finding restoration in Him, and His goodness.

“10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,[e] just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” -Hebrews 4:10-11

I left Purple Adobe dreaming of growing fields of lavender when I’m older and have a large farm (slightly unrealistic because there is so much work involved in a farm & I have the opposite of a green thumb). A girl can dream, right?

Thanking God For My Troubles

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(and yes that is whipped cream on top of my coffee.)

Each time I open “Jesus Calling,” I am in awe of how good God is- and how perfect His timing is. While I was prepared to spend today (Mondays, am I right?) throwing myself a pity party about how I am jobless, He instructs me to not let my rage and self- pity lead me farther from Him. Ummm perfect. Is it easy to thank God during this time: no. Is it necessary: yes.

I am a planner and it’s difficult to plan when I’m uncertain of where I am going. I am so THANKFUL that wherever my next job is, whatever it is- God is with me. He is sovereign. AND I can serve Him in any job. His grace is so much more than my problems. (and I am also so thankful that this is my problem. Thank you Lord for giving me such a manageable one first.)

Today’s devotional pretty much said that thanking Him isn’t easy and doesn’t always come natural- but the more you do it, the more genuine it is. I read that as ‘fake it until you make it.’ I’ve heard that when you’re having a bad day, to smile &/ laugh. They aren’t real smiles or laughs, but these fake moments actually lower your stress and release happy hormones. I feel that’s the same way with giving God your thankfulness of bad moments. Do I really mean it right now? Maybe not, but when He leads me out of this darkness- I will praise Him. And then next time life’s issues arise, I will remember His faithfulness and thank Him for the opportunity to trust Him.

“4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Philippians 4:4-6

Thanking God for your sucky day also saves us from falling ‘into the depths of despair,” (thanks Anne of Green Gables for my dramatic flair). By recognizing His power over our problems, does not negate the problem, but it does protect us from the lies that we are going through the problem alone. He is with us always. And it’s really nice to have someone support you during the difficult times.

So thank you God for this period of my life that I’m unemployed. Thank you Lord for the unknown future.

“I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
    he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
    I will call on him as long as I live.

The cords of death entangled me,
    the anguish of the grave came over me;
    I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    Lord, save me!”

The Lord is gracious and righteous;
    our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the unwary;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.

Return to your rest, my soul,
    for the Lord has been good to you.”

Psalm 116:1-7

(Edi Cat was trying to eat my whipped cream. No thank you, kitten.)

(Edi Cat was trying to eat my whipped cream. No thank you, kitten.)

I Am Not Enough

(This title has nothing to do with looks or overall self-worth- you are valuable.)

Today I woke upon the wrong side of the bed. Literally and figuratively. Literally, because rolling over to the other side was easier than pushing Dolce Dog off. Figuratively, I have no idea why. I was excited to be getting breakfast with my sister, but overwhelmed with spending a day off with people.

Well let’s just say the morning didn’t go as planned, and I didn’t like that. I dramatically left my sister’s apartment in tears. I text two of my closest friends, but neither was available right away. As I drove off, I felt like turning to God, but then part of me rebelled and just turned on the radio.

I drove to my parents. Lanay called me to talk some love into me, but my nephew kept yelling into my ear- so I was pretty distracted. I do know Lanay’s advice was Godly. I do know that I didn’t like it.

The day was basically a day of me avoiding God and trying to turn to others. I went to Gayle’s work to drop off some bridal shower invites, while there I was hoping another friend would be able to hang. She wasn’t. So I called another friend. She wasn’t available either.

When I got to my apartment I just kept repeating over and over “Go to Jesus, Go to Him.” I washed dishes. BUT FINALLY HE WON. I opened up “Jesus Calling,” to today’s devotional. I am so glad I did.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, ”

-James 1:2

“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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

-2 Corinthians 12:9

While I am not thrilled that I feel less than worthy today, and while I don’t like feeling second. I began today with ‘inadequate resources’ and I didn’t rely on Jesus. Instead this morning I just rushed through my day and felt sorry for myself. The moment I realized I was feeling like poop I should have taken a few minutes to rest in Him. I am weak, but He is strong. We sing this as children, but it is so true to our everyday lives. He is stronger than me in everything. When I feel unworthy- Jesus is worthy. He blesses me with that. When I feel second- be glad that He is my all. There are no firsts, seconds, or thirds with Him. He is it. 

She Reads Truth| The Gospel Changes Everything

“The Gospel is Jesus Christ. It is His life, death and resurrection.”

My sister works in collegiate ministry. Whenever she meets a new student who wants to be mentored, she (at some point in the first few meetings) asks them what the Gospel means. It’s staggering how many times students, RAISED IN THE CHURCH, cannot answer this question genuinely. Knowing and living the Gospel is the epicenter of a relationship with God. The Gospel changes EVERYTHING.

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” 

-1 Corinthians 15: 1-4

I can’t wrap my mind around the Truth, but I know it’s the Truth. I’ve gone through so many classes on the Bible, apologetics, fallacies in the Bible (there are none, btw). I studied biochemistry and evolution for 3 years. Throughout high school I was obsessed with learning about other religions. Each time, after every research project- I always came back to the Gospel. It’s where I find my hope. I can’t fully understand why I believe it (although I can articulate why I don’t believe other things), but the mystery of the Gospel “does not make it less true.”

Things I know: Jesus loves me. Jesus died for me. Jesus rose. I’m called to share the Good News. Jesus is coming back.

I’m excited to start  the plan “This is the Gospel” by “She Reads Truth,” to be reminded of the love, hope, perfection of Jesus. And I hope when someone asks me what the Gospel means, I will be ready with an answer.

He Will Meet Us There

breakfast

Today’s “Jesus Calling” devotional focused on our problems. We had them. We have them. We will have them. What is your focus during these circumstances? Will we let out focus be on how we can fix them? Or how absolutely awful they are and how no one can understand!? OR will we fix our eyes upon Jesus. Will we decide to have faith and walk on water with Him? (Matthew 14: 28-32).

We have been raised with Christ, so that someday we will see perfection (Eph 2:6). Let’s turn our focus to heaven  and recognize that Christ is above all things. He is above work drama. He is above family issues. He is above my loneliness and thoughts of self-worth. He sees my weaknesses and He meets me there. That is the most comforting and beautiful feeling.

“I know your weakness, and I meet you in that very place.”

*Mostly moved in to my new place. No reading corner yet. Dolcedog and Edi the cat are with my parents for a few more weeks while I settle in. I miss them SO MUCH, but had breakfast while I read this morning because they never let me eat breakfast and read at the same time. Turning some pet withdrawals into quality time with no attention suckers.

Letting Go & Recognizing Him

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One of the ways I write each day involves my daily time with Jesus. I really try to start/end the day by reading the Bible- usually through the devotional “Jesus Calling,” or through the app “She Reads Truth.”

 

From “Jesus Calling:”

“Speak to me candidly; pour out your heart. Then thank Me for the answers I have set in motion long before you can discern results.”

How freaking amazing that I can just tell God my worries, my hopes, my thanksgivings? I can be honest with Him- since He already knows my thoughts. Sometimes (a lot of the time), I agonize over the smallest issues (except at the moment I don’t realize how minuscule they are). During these stressful times I wish I would turn to Jesus immediately and spend time with Him. Even though spending time with Him doesn’t make the problem go away- it does lift such a burden of ‘control’ off. He is always in control, but it’s so much easier in life if I don’t try to fight for that power (which I do- I’m a control freak).

Psalm 46:10

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

Colossians 4:2

 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Another part to the devotional today, was to thank God during and after prayer. Thank Him for the blessings and answers He has given you AND the ones in progress. “Thankful prayers keep your focus on My Presence and My promise.” I want this to be my focus. I want HIM to be my focus.

 

**Honest moment: Sometimes I’d rather Netflix than read the Bible. Most days I’d decide to sleep for an extra 30 minutes instead of get up and read His Word. To make quiet time more appealing (aka cuter) I set up a quiet time corner in my room. I love spending time in this corner. I feel so at peace with the white fluffy blanket and soft lights. To help me wake up I drink coffee while I read. To make this corner even more appealing; every time I settle in my pets cuddle next to me. It’s the best part of my day.

 

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