i love lists : 15 encouraging verses

Our church, The Fields, is going through the book of Daniel right now. The tagline is “faithful living in difficult days”. I don’t think this teaching series could have come at a better time. Not just for me, but for so many of my friends and family.

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It just seems to be a season of difficult times, trials, suffering, testing, heart break, and waiting…for so many of us. If you feel like you’re in that season too, I want to present some encouragement and truth to you all today and hope that it brings a peace and comfort beyond understanding.

  1. But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
  2. “It is finished,”… John 19:30
  3. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103: 2-5
  4. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139: 23-24
  5. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 1 John 3: 1-3
  6. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Philippians 3:12
  7. You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottleAre they not in your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? Psalm 56: 8-11
  8. I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart. O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. Psalm 38: 8-9
  9. Out of the depths I cry to you, O LordO Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities. Psalm 130:1-8
  10. There is a God in heaven… Daniel 2: 28
  11. I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things. Isaiah 45: 5-7
  12. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1: 17
  13. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! 1 Chronicles 16: 34
  14. As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness. Psalm 17: 15
  15. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20: 24

Jesus loves His children so much. So much that he gave his life for them. We did everything to deserve death and nothing to deserve life. But Jesus didn’t give us what we deserve. He gave us grace. He gave us His own righteousness and faith. Jesus came and died so that we may have life and have it abundantly, and abundant life comes only from knowing Jesus. There is no greater aim.

#write31days #31daysofwriting

xo sarah

i love lists: sundays

Sundays. They’re some of the best days. Some people call Sundays the Lord’s Day.

Every day should center around the praise and worship of God. Every day we should wake up with grateful and humble hearts before our Maker, rejoicing that His mercies are new every morning. So, what’s so special about Sundays?

Sundays are special because it is a day that you can gather with other believers of God and worship Jesus TOGETHER. Gathering on Sunday morning is one particular expression of a life lived in continual worship of God. Scripture tells us to gather and to hear the reading of Scripture, to feast on the preaching and teaching of the Word. We can be singing hymns, praying together, and preparing our hearts to serve God in the week ahead. Sundays prepare us for a life lived in community and remind us of God’s amazing Gospel.

I have the distinct honor and pleasure of being married to a man gifted with musical abilities and leadership. I love how he leads our church family in songs of praise and worship to our King and Savior. He tries to pick songs that fit well with the Scripture we are going through. He also tries to pick songs that will stick with us throughout the week so we are encourging our hearts with melodies of truth and the Gospel. Today, I thought I’d share with you the music set he put together for The Fields this Sunday. So many people were encouraged by the theology of each song. It was a blessing for my heart as well.

sunday 10-11

Here’s the set and a link to the versions of each song on YouTube.

  1. Before the Throne
  2. All Creatures
  3. We are Here for You
  4. Behold our God
  5. Oh God
  6. Though You Slay Me
  7. Psalm 145

Please listen to each of the above songs and be blessed! Pray about the Lord’s Day – for the service, the music, the pastors, your own family, and yourself. Ask that the Lord be glorified and that there would be great expectation and anticipation for the gathering. Ask that each Sunday – and every day – would be all about Jesus. Amen.

#write31days #31daysofwriting

xo sarah

i love lists : things worth waiting for

There have been a couple of posts lately that I have alluded to some “news” I was planning to share. I haven’t been able to put the words together until now, I guess.

This year has been quite the turn of events. I feel like I just had my 27th birthday, and at the same time, I don’t even feel like the same girl who wrote this post 8 months ago: on turning 27. I felt so full of life, hope, and excitement. And just a few short months later, I felt so full of fear, anxiety, and confusion. I explained that whole experience in my post: not one single thing. I had to learn to lean into Christ and fix my eyes on Jesus like never before. I grew in prayer and in relying on Scripture. I was truly learning to need God every moment.

Then, in the first few days of August this year I had a baseball-sized cyst burst on my left ovary. Oh goodness, it was painful. It was also heartbreaking when the initial news was that there was a possiblity I had cancer, an ectopic pregnancy, and a bicornuate uterus (which makes having children difficult…and is probably my biggest fear in life).
Then I came to find out that none of this was true! Um, talk about a roller coaster! I had some CRY days…you know those days? Where you just ugly cry and weep and mourn. Doctors told me that my pain and injuries were abnormal, but normal (yeah…idk). They told me to wait and heal and come back in a few weeks because they weren’t exactly sure what they were looking at.

Well, it’s October now and the news didn’t really get better. I still have a very large black area on my left ovary. It could be a cyst and it could be some issue with my fallopian tube. They just aren’t sure. So now I have to choose: surgery or pills. I don’t want to do either. But either way…this, seemingly, puts having children on hold indefinitely. If you know me at all, you know that being a mother is one of the deepest desires of my heart.
Ultimately, I know that God is so so good and He already has this all figured out for us. Whatever the outcome, I belong to Him, He has given me all of Himself, and I have received the joy of Salvation. This is all my hope. But, yet again, I wait.

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I started saying this thing this summer, “I think the theme of my life here, that God is always trying to teach me, is to wait.” Today I thought I would share a list of things that have been worth the wait…and I hope to someday come back to this list and add “children” to it. Until then, here’s what God has granted me thus far, though the waiting was hard:

  1. My husband. He was my crush, my friend, and dream guy. He still is. Worth every bit of the wait.
  2. Friends. There were many times of loneliness before God brought the right friends into my life.
  3. Physical intimacy in marriage. I think we can all relate to why waiting for sex and connection is a challenge. Not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well.
  4. College acceptance. I know I ended up at the right school and program, but before I got there everything felt so big and unknown.
  5. Job. It took a while before I started working a full time job after college. I wanted it to be something I would actually really enjoy and that would utilize my strengths. And now I have a legitimately cool job! Although…I still don’t know “what I want to be when I grow up”, ha! (unless you count being a mom…but we went over that, hehe.)

The 5 things listed above may seem like a short list…but, goodness, so many many months and years went into each of them.
What can I see in all of them? God’s sovereignty, His faithfulness, and His love in all of it. So why wouldn’t that be true for my future “waits” as well?
Like I said before, I hope to come back to this list someday and add “children”. Maybe even adding more education through CCEF…owning my own bakery/coffee shop…being a missionary in a foreign country…

God has it all in His hands. And His hands are GOOD.

What are some things God has made you wait for? Can you see the value and worth in it after the fact?

#31daysofwriting #write31days

xo sarah

this abundant list

TAL 7 18 15

HAPPY SATURDAY! Waking up to thunder, rain, and lightning was unexpected, but welcome! It’s been a slow morning with green smoothies and toast with goat cheese and tomato slices. I’ll be relaxing at home until our Jr. High pool party this evening 🙂 What are your Saturday plans?

Whatever they are, please enjoy these summer inspired weekend links!

  1. 20 Summer Bucket List items for your family.
  2. How adorable is this summer swim suit?!
  3. Pinning & Twinning made my Minature Roasted Eggplant recipe.
  4. My new favorite author and the perfect summer reads can be foud here.
  5. The most EPIC road trip EVER!
  6. Moscow mules…in popsicle form!!!
  7. A challenge to all of us women out there from Piper.
  8. 2 fresh new looks for your home: one patriotic and one natural. Enjoy!
  9. 8 favorite summer outfits. Yes please!
  10. Whether you’re working, traveling, or picnicking…here’s how to pack healthy lunches.
  11. Even though I want every day to be a beach day, I still have to keep my house clean.
  12. My new favorite thing: Happy Hour Podcast with Jamie Ivey!
  13. Summer dinner made EASY and DELICIOUS.
  14. Need camping list items and tips? I’m your gal. Make sure to check out the whole 3 part series.

Happy Saturday & Happy Summer! Enjoy this season that the Lord has made!

xo sarah

not one single thing

Hi friends,

I posted earlier this week and mentioned I was going to share about the hard season I’m facing. There’s really no exciting way to say this: I have been facing anxiety.
I have friends and family that have experienced anxiety as well, so I know that this is nothing new under the sun. It’s just new for me. And I hate it. It just sucks.

The anxiety arrived out of nowhere. My heart pounds, my fears are raging, my thoughts are scrambled, and I feel on the verge of tears. I am just fragile and weak. It’s extremely frustrating and almost crippling. Like I said, it just sucks.stamped.jpg

And honestly, there is not one single thing causing my anxiety. I can’t point to one thing and conclude that that is the thing wearing on me. There are layers there. Many, many layers. However, I think underneath all the layers is unbelief.
Unbelief that God is in control, is good, is enough, is everything I need. My heart is not believing these truths and that is sinful.

And in the midst of this unbelief and suffering (because that’s truly what it is), I am praising God for four things:

  1. I am praising God for the grace and fogiveness found in Jesus. It’s amazing that God never leaves me no matter how unbelieving my heart is. Grace upon grace.
  2. I am praising God that I have been able to share these feelings with many close friends and family. I have truly felt their prayers and there are no words for how helpful they have been. It’s so comforting to know I’m not praying alone.
  3. I am praising God for my husband. He talks me down, reminds me of the truth, and loves me so well. He knows there are times to let me cry and times to kick my butt (figuratively, of course). He listens even when I don’t know how to communicate.
  4. I am praising God for His Word. Without a doubt, I could not be getting through each day without God’s Word. This is good for me to experience because there have been SO many days that I can get through without Scripture. That is heartbreaking and not the life I want to live.

The fact is, anxiety is normal. But just because it is normal does not mean I shouldn’t battle it to the death. Anxiety/unbelief is battled by grace and grace alone. It is by God’s grace that I can meditate on God’s Word and ask for the help of His Holy Spirit. By His Word, God promises to wipe away my unbelief so that I can see clearly. And the Holy Spirit sanctifies me through this.

Here are some of the Scriptures that have been so helpful for me during this time:

  • Pslam 103: 2-5
    Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
  • Pslam 34: 4-5
    I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
  • Hebrews 4:2
    For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
  • Mark 9: 24
    Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
  • Psalm 38: 9
    O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.
  • 2 Corinthian 4:16-18
    So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

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If you have ever faced anxiety, I am so sorry. I feel your pain and it is terrible. We always have good news in Jesus, promises in the Word, and prayers on our behalf. We can rest in the gospel always.

I will be praying for you as I pray for myself.

xo sarah

this abundant list

TAL 27

Happy Saturday and Happy Weekend! I hope you enjoy these links, spend some time with family, read a good book, drink iced tea, and take a nap. I will…

  1. Thanks Williams Sonoma – give me all the healthy snacks, please.
  2. CRISIS ALERT…these photos will make you cringe.
  3. But then THIS will make you feel all better.
  4. Only a few days left for this FREE treat!!
  5. I’ll just be heading to Oaxaca, okay? Thanks.
  6. The lyrics we’re singing throughout the day this week. So good.
  7. A restaurant recommendation I’ll have to head to Texas for. Thanks Danna!
  8. I think I have decided. My favorite band ever award goes to these guys.
  9. I like using this day-planner for my work life and this day planner for our personal life…I mean, in case you were wondering (because you were, right?).
  10. Why did I decide no sugar & grains, again? Bad decision….YUMMM.
  11. Starting a swimming routine next week! Let’s do this.
  12. I’ve never backed a Kickstarter until today. You should too!!! WELL worth it.

Thanks for reading, friends! Do you have any swimming tips, haha!?

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GWGood morning friends,

I am so excited that December has started. And what did the first few days out here in sunny San Diego bring? RAIN, sweet, rain! I love how it feels chilly and fresh outside. I can hear it dripping outside my window and I love every second of it.

I am also so excited I started reading a devotional for the month of December. It’s called The Dawning of Indestructible Joy and John Piper wrote it for the advent season.

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From the definition above we can see that advent means the arrival of something amazing. Something beautiful. Something new. Or should I say someONE.

As a follower of Christ, I celebrate advent in December because of the arrival of Jesus . The arrival of Jesus provided the most notable thing to have ever happened – the gospel. The arrival of Jesus provided us with an indestructible joy – the gospel. The arrival of Jesus is why we celebrate Christmas at all – the gospel.

Please join me in reading this daily advent devotional. It’s not too late to catch up…it’s only December 3rd! Click the picture below or HERE to download the FREE PDF.

full_the-dawning-of-indestructible-joyIn closing, I hope to encourage you with a Scripture from the book Introduction:

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we
have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the
Father, full of grace and truth. . . . For from his fullness
we have all received, grace upon grace.”
JOHN 1:14–16 AMEN.

I will praying for FULLNESS for you and your family this advent/Christmas season.

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GW

This week I have been dwelling on God’s generosity. He has been generous to me in so many ways: in providing me with Jesus, my Lord and my salvation; in giving me my sweetheart of a husband and loving family; in my church and in my home; in my job and finances; in His Word and the Holy Spirit; in the rocks that cry out; the list goes on and on.

In all of God’s generosity and the good gifts that He has given me, I need to remember to worship the Giver of the gifts and not the gifts themselves. I need to remember that amongst the many blessings that He has so lovingly given to me to steward, my soul is (and can only be) satisfied in HIM alone.

The hymn below is written my The Gettys and is titled, My Worth is Not in What I Own. Please follow this link to hear how beautifully it has been put to music. And see the lyrics below to encourage your soul. Your worth is fixed and your ransom is paid – at the cross! AMEN! He has been generous indeed!

My Worth is Not in What I Own

My worth is not in what I own
Not in the strength of flesh and bone
But in the costly wounds of love
At the cross

My worth is not in skill or name
In win or lose, in pride or shame
But in the blood of Christ that flowed
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

As summer flowers we fade and die
Fame, youth and beauty hurry by
But life eternal calls to us
At the cross

I will not boast in wealth or might
Or human wisdom’s fleeting light
But I will boast in knowing Christ
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed – my ransom paid
At the cross

Isaiah 53:11 – “Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.”

xo sarah

this abundant list

tal oct 31

 

  1. Every good list should start with a bit of prayer.
  2. Hey, all you bloggers – how cute is this print?
  3. Every fall party needs a couple good antipasti // cheese platters.
  4. My husband told me that this is my spirit animal. I was too tickled to be offended.
  5. Thank you Shutterbean. Thank you. I will be enjoying these tonight in the hot tub.
  6. I would love to put together a list like this one for all my readers. It was a goal of mine to do more recipes this year. It didn’t really happen, but it’s not too late to try.
  7. I think this pillow would be super cute with opposite fabrics!
  8. Why must you cost so much Anthropologie?
  9. So excited for next April! Florida here we come.
  10. Inspiring words and great thoughts on being chosen.
  11. Jealous of my husband’s visit here last week. At least he brought me home jam!
  12. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. Seriously, though!

Have a great weekend everyone!

xoxo sarah

 

gospel wednesday

GW

Good Morning Friends!

A couple of weeks ago I was on a walk with a close friend and we were discussing something that we both had in common. Something that is new and amazing. Something that doesn’t come around in every season of life. Something that seems too good to be true.

Contentment.

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It’s hard to specifically describe what has happened in my heart, but something has definitely occurred and I am so grateful. The most wonderful part of this contentment is Who my happiness and satisfaction has ultimately come from…but more on that in a moment.

For a few years now I have really struggled with feeling like I just couldn’t get to where I needed or wanted to be. I desired to be valuable in terms of my job status, living situation, take-home salary, and personal achievements. I was very concerned with impressing and attaining the approval of my family, friends, and acquaintances. And for a few years now I haven’t had the ability to shake a person’s hand and present myself with a, “Hi, I’m Sarah and I do something super important sounding for 40+ hours a week and I make a great salary,” or “Hi, I’m Sarah and I accomplished exactly what I expected I would at 26 years of age.” Writing it out is funny because I know how silly, empty, and misguided it really is.

It has been a hard few years for me with lots of rejection and many tearful conversations. I knew the truth that satisfaction can only be found in my God and King…but at the same time I guess I didn’t fully believe it; it wasn’t sinking in. God has been trying to show me time and time again, through MANY shut doors, that who I am in Him (forgiven, alive, loved, adopted, redeemed, rescued, protected, provided for, wanted, righteous, His daughter) and who I belong to is infinitely more valuable and incredibly more important.

So how have I been able to experience contentment NOW, after all those years of rejection, discontentment, and misguided desires? The answer is simple: Jesus carried me. Jesus never left me and never let me go. Jesus brought me through and showed me His grace. Jesus taught me that satisfaction, true satisfaction, can ONLY be found in HIM and His love displayed on the cross. I have used this verse so many times to describe God’s love because it never returns void: Romans 5:8 – “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

That being said, there is no special pill or 5 step plan to true contentment. The way to contentment, or a state of happiness and satisfaction, is found in Jesus. Spending time reading Scripture, praying to God, and being in community with other believers – these are essential as well. But at the end of the day…the only thing we can be truly satisfied in is our Maker, our King, our Jesus. To quote John Piper, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

As my friend and I continued to walk and talk about what God has been doing in our lives we encouraged one another in the contentment He has given us for this season. We were both stirred up to be so thankful. God has humbled both of us so that we can see His goodness, mercy, perfection, and immeasurable love. It is my prayer that whoever is reading this might find contentment in Jesus as well. He is SO good!!!

Please be encouraged by the Scripture below and reflect of God’s greatness, holiness, trustworthiness, faithfulness, thoughtfulness, planning, generosity, creativity, and power. Be satisfied in HIM.

PSALM 104

O Lord My God, You Are Very Great

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

O Lord my God, you are very great!

You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment,

stretching out the heavens like a tent.

He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot;

he rides on the wings of the wind;

he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire.

He set the earth on its foundations,

so that it should never be moved. You covered it with the deep as with a garment;

the waters stood above the mountains.

At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.

The mountains rose, the valleys sank down

to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass,

so that they might not again cover the earth.

You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills;

they give drink to every beast of the field;

the wild donkeys quench their thirst. Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;

they sing among the branches.

From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.

You cause ithe grass to grow for the livestock

and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth

and wine to gladden the heart of man,

oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.

The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,

the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. In them the birds build their nests;

the stork has her home in the fir trees.

The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.

He made the moon to mark the seasons;

the sun knows its time for setting. You make darkness, and it is night,

when all the beasts of the forest creep about.

The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God.

When the sun rises, they steal away

and lie down in their dens. Man goes out to his work

and to his labor until the evening.

O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all;

the earth is full of your creatures.

Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable,

living things both small and great.

There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.

These all look to you,

to give them their food in due season. When you give it to them, they gather it up;

when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.

When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die

and return to their dust.

When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;

may the Lord rejoice in his works, who looks on the earth and it trembles,

who touches the mountains and they smoke!

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

May my meditation be pleasing to him,

for I rejoice in the LordLet sinners be consumed from the earth,

and let the wicked be no more!

Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!

PSALM 104

Many prayers to you.

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GW

Today’s post might be a bit controversial, but it is a desire of mine to see God’s good truth proclaimed boldly and in grace. I was inspired by the quote below:

false belief

 

What are your initial thoughts after reading it?

For some of you, this may be encouraging and empowering. You may have faced a lot of hurt or abuse in a relationship. You may have been sinned against and treated with hate. You are possibly reading the quote again and finding that it sounds freeing to be able to take control of your life in such a way. If that is you, I am so sorry for your hurt and your pain. I am so sorry that you have been sinned against and taken advantage of. That pain is real and sin deserves punishment. (Romans 6:23) But, please, stay with me as I share some of my own thoughts on the matter.

I do not like this quote all. In my eyes, this quote is anti-gospel and self-absorbed. I am not unaware that we have all been hurt and that there are people in our lives who make almost everything hard. Trust me, I get that. However if God, the TRUE “CEO” (But, He is so much bigger than that man-made term) of this universe, acted in this way, then we would all most definitely be terminated. Why is that? Because we have all sinned against God in the worst and most horrific way; by killing His Son whom He sent.

See how Jesus was wrongfully accused in Luke 22:23-24 :: A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted.”

And how he was mocked and beaten in Matthew 26:65-68 :: “Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?” They answered, He deserves death.” Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”

And lastly, how Jesus was killed in Mark 15:37-39 :: And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he8 breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

If Jesus were to evaluate the people in his life, in the way the quote above suggests, then everyone of us would be terminated. The God of this universe, Jesus, is bigger and more powerful than a simple CEO. The comparison is truly laughable. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega; the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:13). He has been given ALL power and ALL authority in Heaven above and on earth below (Matthew 28:18-20). He has more control and sovereignty than we even begin to give Him credit for. And what does God decide to do with all of His power, authority, and control? He SAVES us. He FORGIVES us. He ADOPTS us. HE makes us his own, forevermore.

See, even while He hung on a cross, how Jesus evaluated the people in his life, Luke 23:34 :: And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He didn’t demote or terminate them because they made his life hard, or sinned against Him, or put Him to death…He didn’t do any of that. He would have been justified to terminate them, but he didn’t. He LOVED them. He forgave them…He forgives us. 

Praise be to God! Romans 5:8 shouts of His LOVE :: “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

And for those who are trusting Christ for salvation, we see in Romans 6:8 what an amazing gift we have:: Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” If you didn’t catch it the first time, here it is again – Colossians 3:3 :: For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Such good news! 

Hopefully now you can see why I feel that the quote above is so anti-gospel. However, I have re-written the quote in light of how I feel Jesus teaches us to live. Please be encouraged and rejoice in the God of your salvation!

true belief

How has either of these quotes affected you? I’d love to hear your story.

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GW

Dear friends,

I have been meditating on and discussing death this week. It may sound a bit morbid to be thinking about death, but it really is something we all have and/or will experience in some way or at some time. Jesus wept over this matter and also spoke with great urgency. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 6:23). Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He desires to save all that would believe for eternal life with HIM!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:16-18 ESV)

And all who believe will be able to enjoy Jesus for all of eternity in Heaven. What an inconceivable joy! Reading the poem below was such an encouragement for me (from The Valley of Vision). Keeping my eyes heavenward is such a reminder to share the gospel in word, deed, and action.

Earth and Heaven

O Lord, 

I live here as a fish in a vessel of water, only enough to keep me alive, 

but in heaven I shall swim in the ocean.

Here I have a little air in me to keep me breathing, 

but there I shall have sweet and fresh gales;

Here I have a beam of sun to lighten my darkness, a warm ray to keep me from freezing;

yonder I shall live in light and warmth for ever.

My natural desires are corrupt and misguided,

and it is thy mercy to destroy them;

My spiritual longings are of thy planting, and thou wilt water and increase them;

Quicken my hunger and thirst after the realm above.

Here I can have the world, there I shall have thee in Christ;

Here is a life of longing and prayer,

there is assurance without suspicion, asking without refusal;

Here are gross comforts, more burden than benefit,

there is joy without sorrow, comfort without suffering,

love without inconsistency, rest without weariness.

Give me to know that heaven is all love, where the eye affects the heart,

and the continual viewing of thy beauty keeps the soul in continual transports of delight.

Give me to know that heaven is all peace, where error, pride, rebellion, passion raise no head.

Give me to know that heaven is all joy, the end of believing, fasting, praying, mourning, humbling, watching, fearing, repining; 

And lead me to it soon.

Have you ever thought about eternity? Have you found hope in the good news of Jesus Christ? I would truly love to hear your story.

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GW

Hello friends,

I am humbled and hesitant to share something I have been struggling with lately. It exposes my sin and makes me feel incredibly vulnerable. However, I think it’s a good thing to be honest, to be open, and to – in fact – be broken.

The “something” I have been struggling with is a false body image.

Negative thoughts run through my head constantly: I’m getting fat, my shorts are tighter than last summer, I have so much cellulite, I thought I had abs, I am not strong enough, people probably think I’m lazy, they are so much better looking, my husband would probably be more attracted to me if I was 15 pounds lighter, if only I could have that body…on and on it goes.

Writing those things out is, in a word, embarrassing. I don’t like admitting that I idolize having a great body and the approval of man (as opposed to the approval of God). I also don’t like admitting my perfectionism and pride. But there it is…in the open now. This struggle with body image is so frustrating and has become an area of my life where I have placed too much of my hope.

The truth is, all my hope should be in Jesus, in his Gospel, and in his love for me. That should be enough (because it is enough). His great mercy for me, a sinner, should satisfy me beyond measure (and it does).  Therefore, it is not a matter of whether or not Jesus IS enough for us, it is a matter of whether or not we BELIEVE that He is enough for us. Can we (myself included) believe, speak, shout out, “I am God’s beloved daughter in whom He is well pleased!“?

Jesus is the one who loves perfectly and who makes us HIS own. He is also the one who died on the cross, forgave our sin, and accomplished righteousness on our behalf. Now when God looks at us, He only sees the perfect blood of Christ and is WELL PLEASED. Amen!

In the book Because He Loves Me by Elise Fitzpatrick, she explains the idea that when we sin, there is something about the Gospel that we are not believing. I know that this is true for me. When I believe the false ideas about my body, I am not believing that God is well pleased with me (because of Jesus); I am not believing that I already have all the approval I could ever hope for (because of Jesus); and I am not believing that the work God did in saving me and changing my heart is beautiful enough.

Here are a couple of ways I will battle through this:

  1. Give it to God in prayer. Every bit of it! Let God work in me through this struggle. Trust Him completely with it and remember that He will never leave my side. Ask Him to help me believe the Gospel fully.
  2. Look to Scripture. The Bible is my source of truth when I am tempted to sin. I will be working toward memorizing these scriptures:
  • Psalm 139:14 – I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
  • 1 Samuel 16:7 –  But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
  • Proverbs 31:30 – Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
  • 1 Peter 3:3-4 – Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
  • James 3:16 – For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
  • 1 Timothy 4:8 – for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Hopefully this post was helpful for those of you who have also been struggling with false body image. Hopefully you can come to repentance and believe the Gospel in its entirety. Hopefully you know I am praying for you as I pray for myself.

God bless you. xo sarah

in Christ

 

{Photo Credit}

gospel wednesday

GW

The love of Jesus.

Have you thought about it today, yesterday…ever?

It is my prayer that one lost soul would read this and come to faith, come to life, and deeply love Jesus. That one lost soul would read about the LOVE of Jesus and be humbled, amazed, and broken before the King of Kings. That one lost soul would be at peace in their Makers arms.

When I was fourteen I was brought to my knees by the love of Jesus. I always knew there was a God, but at that age I suddenly became very aware of love. Not just any kind of love, but the love of Jesus found in the gospel: forgiveness of sin, healing, comfort, freedom, rest, redemption, righteousness, and an everlasting relationship.

Enjoy this prayer about TRUE Love and believe.

LOVE

Lord Jesus,

Give me to love thee, to embrace thee,

though I once took lust and sin in my arms.

Thou didst love me before I loved thee, 

an enemy, a sinner, a loathsome worm.

Thou didst own me when I disclaimed myself; 

Thou dost love me a son, and weep over me as over Jerusalem.

Love brought thee from heaven to earth, 

from earth to the cross,

from the cross to the grave,

Love caused thee to be weary, hungry, tempted,

scorned, scourged, buffeted, 

spat upon, crucified, and pierced.

Love led thee to bow thy head in death.

My salvation is the point where perfect created love

and the most perfect uncreated love meet together;

for though dost welcome me … rejoicing.

this love is not intermittent, cold, changeable;

it does not cease or abate for all my eternity…

…Thy infinite love is a mystery of mysteries,

and my eternal rest lies in the eternal enjoyment of it.

– A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions

Enjoy your Wednesday! If you would like to share when you first experienced the love of Jesus, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GW

This particular season in life has been pretty rocky. With our whole family moving across the country, fires hitting North San Diego County, miscarriages of friends, and the mass of tissue that was found in the skull of our sweet student, Katherine…it’s been emotional to say the absolute least.

I know that those of you reading this have faced your own suffering as well. Whether that be death, sickness, divorce, betrayal, abandonment, failure, depression, anxiety…Whatever the case may be, we have all faced suffering head-on. The Bible tells us to endure suffering. Hard as that may be, it produces the character of God in us. Jesus came and died for the ungodly and related to us in our suffering:

  • For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. Hebrews 2:10
  • 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 sinLet us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of needHebrews 4:14-16
  • And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

If you have been reading for a while, then you know I like to share psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. They are a source of encouragement and connection for me. I love seeing the character of God displayed in words and melodies. Everything else around me may be shaking or in ruins, but God remains faithful and true, pouring out His great love for me in the gospel.

The song I want to share today comes from the new King’s Kaleidoscope album. CLICK HERE to hear the song “Fix My Eyes”. I bolded some of the words I connect to.

When my heart is weary, when my soul is weak
When it seems I can’t traverse the trail before me
I survey the glory of Your agony
And I find the will to fight for what’s before me
Cause You ran the race enduring for Your glory

I fix my eyes on You, the founder and the finisher of our faith
I fix my eyes on You, the solace in Your suffering is my strength

As I fight to follow, You’re my righteous guide
And You train me to delight in all that’s holy
Heal my broken body, cure my crooked stride
Throw off every weight and sin that clings so closely
I will run the race enduring for Your glory

I fix my eyes on You, the founder and the finisher of our faith
I fix my eyes on You, the solace in Your suffering is my strength

You help me breathe, You’re the only life I need
You died for me, You’re the only life I need 

Lastly, I want you to KNOW this: your suffering is NOT meaningless. If you have just a few minutes, please listen to this song/message. It was such a reminder of the truth and a comfort to me in my suffering. Let it be the same to you.

xo sarah