Category Archives: Written in High School

Take these ones with a grain of salt; they’re cringy and/or I don’t fully stand behind them anymore. I edited for outright heresy (again– cringe), but I still am not passionate about these.

The 5:19 Photo Project, 2013

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Two years ago, I attempted to throw me and Jesus a wedding, and although He helped me realize that it was a strange idea because we’re having a real one in the future, the pictures I took remained as a visual of purity and joy in being His bride. The next year, I took pictures in my white dress once again, but this time it wasn’t a makeshift “wedding”– it was The 5:19 Photo Project.

I love the concept. I know most people would NOT have come up with this simply by listening to “5:19” by Matt Wertz, but I kind of like that. It could mean I’m a little crazy, or it could mean that Jesus can speak to our hearts in ways no one else can quite catch. I like the latter; I believe it.

This year, my dear friend Holly was able to come over and take pictures with me. Jesus blessed us with the sunny day I’d been asking for (it was raining all week, and it’s raining again now; how loved am I?!), and we laughed and posed and reveled with Him. It was a vivid picture of rejoicing in His love, and a glimpse into what purity really looks like. Purity isn’t just abstinence (although that’s an aspect of it): purity is a lifestyle created by loving Jesus so much that you let it dictate your every thought and action.

Be overjoyed that He is your husband! He calls you His beloved bride; He romances you daily; His love for you is what earthly marriages are based on and cannot match. This is true love.

Please enjoy this year’s 5:19 Photo Project:

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Opened Eyes at Acquire the Fire

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Last year, I told you about Acquire the Fire in a Years of Listening post because I didn’t want it to deserve its own. This year I didn’t even plan on going until I found out Disciple was going to be there. As the event approached, however, I began to soften. I knew my hostility toward Acquire the Fire was unreasonable and unfair; it wasn’t their fault that my brain was a mess and my emotions ran away from me. I had to remind myself that no one is responsible for my feelings but me. Others can trigger feelings in me, but my response is what matters; how I deal with them, if I take them to Jesus or not, is no fault of anyone’s but mine. That was a hard lesson that took months to learn, but I finally began to understand.

That being said, my goal for my experience at Acquire the Fire this year was simply to have fun. I knew I was going to like the bands, and I was going with a great group of girls, so my plan was to just enjoy what came. I’ve come so far since last year, God has delivered me from so much, but I think I still carry the fear that any joy I find is temporary. I think I’m afraid to let Him really change me, so I settle for comfort. But, as we’ve discussed, that isn’t good enough anymore. I want change; I need it, too; I have to let Him work it in me. All of this to say:

What happened to me at Acquire the Fire was completely unexpected. Oh, I had fun– with Jesus! And that’s something I haven’t been able to say in a long time.

I love Jesus. He is the very core of my life, my heart, my mind. But in our walk, I’ve been in a valley, climbing slowly but surely. If you’ve read Forgiven and Loved for a while, you’ve been with me on that climb– in the lowest points and in the meadows of hope. And so has He, even when I was blind. The past month or two, it’s felt as if I’m on level ground, not falling, not being lifted. And I’ve been content with that. Imagine how it felt to start worshiping Him like I forgot I could; how I felt when I remembered the realities of forgiveness; how excited I was to hear things in my spirit again! The promise is real: the desert is not my home! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I embarked on the this adventure with Grandma Edie and my sisters from our monthly Bible study, and that really added to how much fun I had. These girls are not only hilarious and quirky, but their relationships with Jesus are real and mature, much more than with most girls our age, so it’s easy to be open and honest with them; I am so thankful for them!

(take April 20, 2013)     The first night, I noticed two things: 1) The worship leader was handsome to the point of insanity, and 2) Although I “knew” every truth from the sermon, it felt like I was hearing them for the first time. I know that what I did yesterday doesn’t define me today, but when Pastor Kemtal Glasgow said that, I realized I wasn’t living like I believed it anymore. But perhaps the most surprising thing was that when I realized this and decided I wanted to change– I did. Right away. In worship, I closed my eyes and lifted up my cupped hands and just surrendered my heart right away. And I knew that I would make mistakes again; I knew that eventually I would open my eyes, see Mr. Worshipleaderman, and think of him instead of Jesus, and I did. But He had grace. Every time Mr. Worshipleaderman crossed my mind, I would close my eyes and genuinely surrender my heart, and He would take it and put a smile in its place. It was that easy, and I never would have thought that all this time conquering lust was as easy as that! I just asked Him to forgive me, to keep me about Him instead of anyone else, and He listened. This isn’t a new concept, isn’t revolutionary: it’s the gospel!

Have you forgotten the gospel like me?

I am constantly complicating my life. The answer, no matter the question, is always so simple, but every time I “find” it I’m blown away! Like at Acquire the Fire when I knew I had to do something for those suffering in the world. I didn’t know what it would take, but I knew He wanted me to and that I wanted to. But back home, getting a phone call about a possible missions trip? “Is this God’s will for me how am I ever going to pay for this I’ll never be able to go why did I sign up should I go somewhere else what can I do…” I let myself disguise things, trying to make them harder than they are. With this missions trip, I have to keep remembering that He is the way; He is the light on my path and He’ll take me where I need to be. What if I retold myself the gospel everyday? Because that’s the answer. Not some new philosophy, not some book or blog post written about it, not a step-by-step plan. What are you asking God today? Or, if you don’t know Him yet, what are you asking yourself or the world? The answer is in the gospel, right here in plain sight. I can’t tell you how many places I’ve looked for some joy, but where did I find it? Worshipfully focusing on Him in His presence. The gospel tells me that, that He is the wellspring of life. Why didn’t I listen? I also can’t tell you how long I’ve been trying to conquer lust, how many techniques I’ve tried, and what worked? Surrendering my heart to Jesus. The gospel tells me that, that He died for my sin so that I don’t have to live in it. How did I miss that? Person I love, if you find yourself seeking answers, look no further than Jesus. He is the gospel manifested. No matter what you’re stuck in, He can get you out. Take it from me, the unfeeling boy-watcher turned joyful bride of Christ. Is everything right with my life? Not in the slightest. Things piled up right after I got back from Acquire the Fire and it was hard. But am I okay? Yes. I’m better than okay. I FEEL! I Do you know how big that is? I feel that I am loved; I know I am.

The second night, me and my friend Angela were a couple of minutes late to worship (but we met Rapture Ruckus, no regrets!), so we had to stand a little to the side of the crowd. I was enjoying singing to Jesus, when I started to hear crying behind me. My heart immediately became heavy for this person. Minutes passed, and when I heard her cry out “PLEASE!” multiple times, I dropped to my knees, laid my hands on her, and prayed for her. I spent the rest of the worship service like that, crying and praying for the girl facedown on the ground. I knew where she was. It’s where I was a little over two years ago. When I touched her I immediately started sobbing, because I knew I could pray for her; I knew what she needed, because it was what I’d needed. And I heard what Jesus was saying to her then; I knew that He had said the same things to me, but I couldn’t hear them back then. He showed me just how much He delivered me when He sent me to that girl. Beautiful girl, if you’re out there: He’s already there. He is working on your heart. You will be okay. Anyone like her? You will be okay. How do I know? Because I’m okay. Because I spend time with Him and surrender to Him, because the living gospel is inside me, I’m more than okay. I am Forgiven and Loved.

Temptations, Running, & Realizations

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I’ve been learning about temptation lately. It was the topic at Bible study last month and the tools I got there were too impactful to forget; I’ve been using them daily. What stuck out the most? These little notebooks we decorated and entitled “The Anatomy of Temptation.”My notebook (and my kitty, in the corner!)

Grandma Edie (our leader/unofficial grandma/awesome lady) gave us the main points, and together we sort of brainstormed the various pages between, like a flip book. I would love to share it with you; it’s intense and eye-opening to me:

  1. You have an unsatisfied hunger/longing in your heart. Acceptance. Being heard. Someone who cares. To feel loved. Value. Success. Anything, really…
  2. The enemy sends you a temptation to fill that unmet need/want in the wrong way. He preys on your feelings. He loves to send you an ungodly guy [or girl] to confuse you, to make you think, “This is better than what I have.” He wants you to be all about the quick fix.
  3. The enemy whispers that this will give you something you lack. He says, “This will ease the pain…”; he says, “This will solve your problems.”
  4. You have no chance of resisting– without Christ. He knows what it’s like! He is the only one who can fully resist. He’ll help you! He will fulfill your desires in the best way– HIS way, in His perfect timing.

After I got home from Bible study the next day, I decided to create a second section in my notebook. I called it “Fighting Temptation”, and every night I would dedicate a page to record and comment on the temptations I faced during my day. I thought it was a great idea– until I actually started doing it and I had to own up to all the ugliness I faced every single day. It doesn’t give me a chance to even think I’m doing nothing wrong; I see daily that I need Jesus incredibly close to me, or else I’ll get stuck in something. I’m forced to analyze my thoughts and decisions. I see patterns in what tempts me the most. I see the things that are usually the reasons I give in. When I don’t want to write an entry, I know I’ve messed up. It holds me accountable. And you know what? I am so thankful for my little book.

Sometimes after I write the day’s entry, I look back at the first half of the book and review the anatomy of temptation; it reminds me that willingly giving in to temptation means I’m willingly obeying the enemy. That is TERRIFYING! Why would I ever want to do that when I am on the Lord’s side? If I’m His bride, how can I betray Him?

Last night my devotions were in Numbers 5. In verses 11-31 are instructions for Old Testament priests concerning adultery; they stuck out to me. You can read the whole thing if you want, but the gist? If a man suspected that his wife had cheated on him, he would take her to the priest. The priest, with a bowl of holy water and a little dust from the ground of the tabernacle, would lead the woman in an oath; this oath basically said that if she was faithful to her husband, she would be safe– but if she was not, the water would curse her with great stomach pains and barrenness. The priest then wrote the curse down, washed the ink away in the water, and had the woman drink it. Her deeds would soon be evident depending on the effect of the water. As I read these instructions, I heard: “Would you be willing to drink the water right now?”

Ouch.

If Jesus played by these rules, I would be cursed countless times. He is right to call me an unfaithful bride; He knows how easily I’m led astray from His heart. YET– everywhere in the Bible that mentions us as an unfaithful bride, the ending is always along the lines of, “I will love you despite that.” He doesn’t curse me; He purifies me, forgives me, leads me to the right path, STAYS WITH ME. And why would I devalue that in my heart? Why would I ever want to run from that? The next time I am tempted, by anything, I will ask myself: “Would you be willing to drink cursed water after this? Why do you want to leave Him who truly loves you?”

We run. But He runs, too, chasing us. We cannot escape His love.

(Listen to the full song here!)

Proof of Your Love: The Shield of Faith

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Captain America's ShieldFaith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) Do we have this kind of faith? I believe completely in Jesus: who He is, what He says about Himself, what He does and has done– all of it. I have no doubts that I believe in Him in that way. The faith I struggle with more is faith that He’ll do what I hope for. I know that He can, that He will if it works within the beautiful plan He has for me, but my constant question is if I’m asking according to His will. I hope and pray that He’ll let me see a friend, for instance; but what if seeing that friend at that time would be harmful to the plan? Should I put faith into those prayers anyway? This whole thing is over-thinking, and I can’t be the only person who does it. Have you ever felt like this before? Like you have faith in Him, but not what you’re asking? I think you’ll be encouraged by this, since I recently was, myself:

THAT’S ALL YOU NEED.

Paul, speaking of Abraham, said, No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised. (Romans 4:20 & 21) Adding to that, the writer of Hebrews said, By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. (Hebrews 11:11) Are you sure that what you’re praying for will happen? Not always. BUT, are you sure that God is faithful? Yes. And that’s what counts. Doubts may come, but as long as you believe in Him admist those doubts, your faith is there.

Faith is the fuel of righteousness, as we discovered a few weeks ago. It’s what the righteous man lives by, what gives him humility and compassion, what keeps him standing, what counts. (Verses: Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 11:20, Romans 12:3, Galatians 5:6) Remember that righteous deeds are empty without faith? It comes back around: faith without acting on it is useless. If your faith in Jesus doesn’t instill in you a deep desire to be obedient to Him or to serve other people, it’s as good as dead. James says, Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:18) It isn’t possible to have a growing faith that changes things without action. Righteous works are the visible products of faith. Is your faith producing? People should be able to see who are without even having to ask, “Are you a Christian?” What you do should give them no doubts about your faith, because you look like Him. Paul even says, Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)

Faith was what Jesus prayed for us to have the most. In Luke 22:31 & 32, a verse He has used to speak to me, He says, Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. It’s a gift He’s given us. We would never have it unless He did what He did. Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17) It’s why we can be so close to Him. Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)

Faith is a shield. What does this shield do?

  1. It is the first thing you grab when heading into battle. For those who aren’t nerds like me and haven’t seen How to Train Your Dragon a least ten times, the first piece of advice the dragon-slayers-in-training receive is to find a shield if they only have enough time to choose one weapon. The shield is VITAL in battle. Even if you don’t have an axe or a sword or any kind of weapon, your shield not only protects you, but also if an enemy is close enough you can hit them with it. You’ve seen what Captain America can do with a shield! Your faith is the most important thing you have in this battle. If you’re without it, you’re already at a disadvantage. If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all. (Isaiah 7:9) God calls Himself is our shield, and THAT is why we’re safe! You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. (Psalm 119:114)
  2. It is overall defense anywhere you need it. The other pieces of armor we’ve been talking about, like the breastplate, are good, necessary pieces of armor. Their down side? They can only shield so much. Where your armor is lacking, your shield can compensate. Likewise, faith fills in what’s lacking in your righteousness, etc. You aren’t perfect, and Jesus realizes that. That’s why He came: to deliver what we couldn’t. Don’t be afraid when attacks come if you have faith. You’re covered. We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Hebrews 10:39)
  3. It is power. Faith is what Jesus had in fullness. Listen in to this conversation between Jesus and a few of his followers (found in Matthew 17): The disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it [a demon] out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” I heard once that the word Jesus used for “little” in the original language didn’t mean “small” as much as it meant “short in direction.” Faith is big; how far do you let it go? Love is the reason you have it in the first place, His love for you and now your love for Him. Let love propel you forward. If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2)

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  (1 Peter 1:6 & 7) Your faith will be tested, but not to worry– you’re safe as long as you stand firm. This is the victory that has overcome the world– our faith. (1 John 5:4)

Walk in Love: The Shoes of Readiness, the Gospel, and Peace

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The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. -Romans 16:20

     Walk in Love (picture found on Pinterest)I’ve written about peace before, but there’s always more to learn. And I have been learning. The biggest news? Not only is peace God’s most frequent response to our prayers– it’s HIM! He IS peace! Gideon, the fearful but spirit-filled leader of a conquest for Israel, built an altar and named it The Lord is Peace (Judges 6:24). In a list of a few names that describe Him, we find Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). The apostle Paul told the Ephesians, He Himself is our peace. (Ephesians 2:14) He also told the Corinthians, God is not a God of confusion but of peace. (1 Corinthians 14:33) And I keep this on my wall: You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3) When I’m at a loss, when I don’t know how I’m going to make it, when I find myself falling, I think of Him– and I know I’ll be okay. That’s how I know He is peace. He wouldn’t pay the price that He did to leave me as I was! He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him; and by His wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

     Peace is a lifestyle that comes from a relationship with Him that’s gone deep enough to dictate your actions. It’s made of purity, meekness, righteousness. It helps you do your part and allow others to do theirs. It trains you to have more open spiritual eyes. It makes your future brighter. It’s your substance. It binds together all you do, and helps you be closer to Him. It helps you to trust Him. It gives you joy. (Verses: Psalm 37:11, Psalm 37:37, Psalm 85:10, Proverbs 12:20, Isaiah 32:17, 1 Corinthians 9:14, Ephesians 4:1-3, Hebrews 12:11.)

     Most of all, it teaches you to let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel. (Philippians 1:27) A life worthy of the gospel? That tells His story? That explains why He did what He did and how to know Him? I want a life like that! In order to get it, I need to let my love for Him leak out; I need to be so in love with Him that I do all I do out of that, just like He does for me. I need to let peace reign, because that lets HIM reign.

     As a piece of armor, the readiness of the gospel of peace is a pair of shoes. Functions?

  1. It keeps you from stumbling. Remember how we discovered peace comes from keeping our minds on Him? That’s also the key to keep us from stumbling. I don’t know what areas you struggle in, but I know it begins in your thoughts. I think things I shouldn’t daily! We’re all that way! Wouldn’t it be a relief to be free from that? Isn’t that what we long for? Think about Him and all He means to you. Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. (Psalm 119:165) That’s peace, and the greatest defense against falling. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7) Also, keeping peace with others will make it easier for the gospel to stick with them.
  2. It takes you away from the war. Life is full of battles. We fight them every day, some harder than others, but sometimes there comes a point when you’re sure you can’t survive, can’t endure any longer. For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:… a time for war, and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 8) That’s when Jesus gives you peace, so you can run from the war and the pain. He doesn’t let you encounter anything you can’t handle. When you just can’t fight anymore, He saves you; He shows you where to flee to. If you’re in a place like this, take heart: peace is coming soon, and you’re getting out of there. I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul, and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place. (Psalm 31:7 & 8)
  3. It allows you to bring hope to others. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” (Isaiah 52:7) When you have peace, you don’t care so much about yourself and your problems, instead you’re more ready to share some love with others! Pray for peace and open doors, and sharing the gospel will become a much bigger part of your life. Especially if you let peace overtake you during a difficult time, people see that and are inspired; it makes them feel a little better and have a little more hope. Wearing peace is like wearing the gospel.

Always keep your shoes on, so you can be ready for anything. I’ll leave you some food for thought with this story Jesus told: Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.(Luke 12:35-40)

Keep My Heart Alive: The Breastplate of Righteousness

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But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  -Romans 3:21-26

I always secretly wondered what righteousness was. I grew up hearing the word used, but even after I began pursuing Jesus I was a little unsure. How could I know if I was righteous? If I wasn’t, how could I become righteous? It was confusing and I didn’t understand. It took a long time for me to begin believing I was righteous, but Jesus used Jason Gray’s song “I Am New” to start convincing me:

Forgiven. Beloved. Hidden in Christ. Made in the image of the Giver of life. Righteous and holy. Reborn and remade. Accepted and worthy–this is our new name.

Everyone who practices righteousness has been born of Him. (1 John 2:29) I am righteous! I may not do all I should, I may not be perfect, but I have Jesus living in me now. His righteousness is inside me. It is nothing I’ve done. Without Him, I’m the same old mess of unrighteousness. It’s Him and only Him. He turns me into the person He tells me I am! The trick isn’t to seek righteousness itself, but to seek God whole-heartedly. That’s what righteousness is: the imitation of Him. Trying to be righteous alone always fails. We’ve all tried, but you just can’t do it! God doesn’t need you to be perfect; He just wants you to love Him. Unbelievers in Israel gave us this example: Being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. (Romans 10:3) You’re not seeking righteousness for yourself. You need to want it because He has it and it’ll bring you closer to Him, not to improve yourself. He put on righteousness as breastplate long before we even knew it was possible (see Isaiah 59:17).

You’ve probably heard it said that The righteous shall live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:4) Righteousness without faith is failure, empty works, legalism. Unless you have faith, your would-be-righteous acts don’t mean anything deeper than the act itself. Faith is the key. Faith is what makes it all matter, makes it part of you. Before I had faith, I tried to do everything in my power to be a good, pure person in hopes that Jesus would love me. Unfortunately, my power is small and weak. Not only could I not be righteous, I couldn’t make Him love me even when I did something good– He already loved me. I simply had to believe that. Being righteous is NOT a way to make God love you; it’s a product of the love He’s already given you. When you have faith in Him, righteousness begins to grow in you. Because you love Him and know He loves you, you do all that you do out of that faith, and that makes you righteous. Faith is the source and the fuel. Believe in His love and His promises. That’s what counts. (see Genesis 15:6)

As a piece of armor, righteousness works as a breastplate. What does it do, exactly?

  1. It’s your front. A breastplate goes straight onto you; it’s probably the first thing someone would notice on you. You’ve heard people say, “So-and-so has this kind of front”, meaning they put off a certain air? Righteousness has its own air. You can usually tell when someone is truly striving to imitate Jesus. It effects the people around you, simply because you live it! The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. (Isaiah 32:17)
  2. It tells others who you fight for. Many knights would wear their family crest or the king’s symbol on their chest. It was a silent declaration of loyalty, but it also let other knights know if they were on the same side or not during battle. Likewise, your righteousness is a symbol of your loyalty to Jesus and fighting for Him; it shows you care enough to try, to commit the way you live to Him. However–it also lets the enemy and his warriors see whose you are; it makes them hate you and fight you. Psalm 37:30-33 explains and encourages: The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The law of God is in his heart; his steps do not slip. The wicked watches for the righteous and seeks to put him to death. The Lord will not abandon him to his power or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial. We’ll be under attack, yes, but we won’t be defeated. He will protect us.
  3. It protects your most vital area: your heart. There are so many verses in the Bible that speak of righteousness being life-giving. I know first-hand that sometimes it just doesn’t look appealing to do the right or moral thing, but I also know that every time I act on that I start feeling weary, beat-down, lifeless. Those moments of defiance and disloyalty remind me what a difference He makes in me. Loving Him is what makes my blood flow. If I don’t live out my love, my heart is defenseless; it can easily be penetrated by the enemy’s attacks. Put on righteousness out of love for Him, or you won’t make it! The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. (Proverbs 18:10)

To learn more about the traits of a righteous man, read the book of Proverbs.

Hold Me Together: The Belt of Truth

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     I want to make Jesus happy. To give Him something to delight in after all the blessings He’s given me. And if you’re like me (which you are; we’re all the same, you know!), you have this desire, and it’s deep and real, but you always seem to mess up, or you just don’t have any specific ideas. I think that sometimes we just think too much. We don’t need to be perfect, we don’t need to have a huge step-by-step plan, and we REALLY don’t need a list with a title like “25 Easy Ways to Make Jesus Happy”–that comes straight from the heart, doesn’t it? He’s not some deity we have to appease! He is a genuine Spirit who just wants some love from the ones He already loves! How do we make Him happy?: Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. (Psalm 51:6) Be you. Be real, be honest, and seek the truth. It makes Him smile. The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. (John 4:23) Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and truth. (1 John 3:18) He just wants what you have. Honestly, He will treasure one sentence about your love for Him more than a thousand songs sung insincerely in a worship service. He just wants YOU, no matter what you have in you! Do you remember what He said about love? It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. (1 Corinthians 13:6) Truth is a lifestyle that becomes part of you; it determines where you go and why. (see Psalm 86:11)

     Knowing all this… how do you know what’s true? How do you make it an inseparable piece of you? We can’t trust ourselves for that. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9) He gives us the key when He says this: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6) It’s Him! He’s the only one who can help us understand Himself. If you think you don’t know enough about Him, the answer to is to spend time with Him, GET to know Him. He IS truth, and He’ll lead you to it, because He’s also the way. He’ll become your very life. Everything He is, is true; everything He says is true (see John 17:17); and if you listen to Him, YOU will be of the truth, too (see John 18:37).

     Truth is a piece of armor for spiritual war, the belt. You might think at first, “What good is a belt against any weapon? Why is that such a vital piece of armor?” Many think the same thing: “What good could truth do for me? Why do I need it?” Think about what a belt does, and you’ll be surprised just how powerful this piece of armor can be!

  1. A belt holds you up to your standards. Imagine, for example, that you find a horoscope section in a magazine. If you know and understand the truth that horoscopes are demonic and hurtful, you can say “nope” and continue reading about Andrew Garfield’s favorite brand of soap. However, if you don’t fasten on your belt of truth and therefore don’t recognize the impending danger, your protection will fail and the enemy might win this round. Truth keeps you safe from loss of dignity.
  2. A belt is where you keep your sword. A sheath attatches to your belt and allows you to always have your sword with you, even if you’re not using it. Likewise, if you have truth in your heart, God’s word (the sword of the Spirit) is there, ready to be used at a moment’s notice. Keep seeking truth and fastening it onto yourself, and you’ll always have a weapon to fight off unexpected attacks.
  3. A belt does NOT bind you– it frees you. When you put on a belt you are freeing yourself from both the worry that your pants will fall down, and from the constant need to pull them up. Just like a belt, the truth frees you. Some say that the truth is binding, that it restricts you. Nope; it frees you from worry and constant need. Jesus says (in John 8:31 &32), If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Let the truth free you! Fasten the belt and let it hold you up!