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

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

Jesus is better.

This is a beautiful phrase. I have been reminding my heart of this truth a lot lately.

In this season of life, I am working part-time, enjoying taking care of our home, getting good exercise, and reading the bible more regularly than ever before. I am enjoying these gifts so much! The really difficult part of this season is having my husband work himself to the bone. He is working two full time jobs (until they hire a replacement for one of them), working part time doing music and youth at our local church, and going to Seminary up in La Mirada once a week (plus homework). How? By God’s grace.

I have been asking him what more I can do, how I can be encouraging him, and what else he needs from me. I, so badly, want to fix this for him. I’ve realized that for the most part I just need to pray for him. I have been praying that God would sustain him and keep him diligent. I also just need to agree with him that this IS hard. This time in our lives IS hard.

The good news is that Jesus IS better.

In all my sorrows, Jesus is better – make my heart believe
In all my victories, Jesus is better – make my heart believe
Than any comfort, Jesus is better – make my heart believe
More than all riches, Jesus is better – make my heart believe
Our souls declaring, Jesus is better – make my heart believe
Our song eternal, Jesus is better – make my heart believe

Let’s look at Scripture to see why Jesus is better:

“…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom…” 1 Timothy 2:5-6

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11

…if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

Jesus gave us His life, His death, and His resurrection. Jesus gave us His love, His mercy, and His goodness. Jesus gave us His righteousness, His Spirit, and His church. Jesus gave us all of Himself and that is far better than any gift, struggle, or season.

Glory, glory, we have no other king than Jesus Lord of all. I will bless His name forever and ever. Amen.

xo sarah

Lyric credits: Austin Stone

gospel monday

Gospel Monday

This is what Romans says about humans: Romans 3: 10-12, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.

This is what the Psalms says about humans: Psalm 32: 1-2Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”

So, if none of us are good  –  not even one of us  –  how will this sin of ours be covered? How will we be blessed in the Lord finding no iniquity in us?

The answer is so simple and so profound.

Jesus Christ.

Romans 8: 6-11 says this, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Reconciliation! Is HAS been accomplished. For those who trust in the truth of the Gospel and exalt Christ as Savior and King, there is fulfillment and satisfaction in God’s promise of true reconciliation. We have God’s: stamp of approval, righteousness, and protective covering. ALL because of Jesus.

This is good. We are not good, but Jesus is. And He is enough. Always enough.

Prayer: What a relief to have a clean slate before you, God. I am well aware of my sinful flesh and my disobedience to you. But because of your grace and mercy, my sin does not have the last word in my life. You do, Jesus. And you spoke words of hope over your children: IT IS FINISHED.

Amen.

xo sarah