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}

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gospel wednesday

GW

{Sorry to everyone who is getting this post in their email subscription twice this week…I hit publish too early last night before I finished writing the post. Thanks for reading!}

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop working/meeting with my team. We were finishing up lunch and were about to discuss Jr. High Ministry, finalize some plans for our Mexico trip, and get stuff DONE. God, however, had something else planned for us.

A man sitting nearby scooted himself next to our table and asked if we had a moment to talk. He wanted to discuss a philosophy book he was reading for a class he was enrolled in. We said sure and he began.

His question had to do with the understanding of knowledge, but in terms of capacity. He was curious to know if we thought that people should attempt to understand things that are beyond their brain’s capacity of knowledge. For example, “Should a table try to understand a human being if it does not have the ability?” or “Should we, as human beings, try to know their own soul and their Creator if it is outside our ability or capacity to understand?”

He said from the start that he did not want to bring religion in to the discussion, but we let him know that we were okay with talking about God. We let him know that we were Christians, went to local churches, and were honored to discuss our faith.

The next three hours were spent going back and forth in conversation with this man and bringing the truth to his ears and heart. He was of the Bahai faith, so his views on God were very different than ours (me, my director, and my boss). We listened to his views, he listened to ours, and overall the discussion was really rich and a true blessing to me.

I was very aware of how present the Lord was, there with us; that He had gone before us and He was working through us to speak truth, grace, and the Gospel so clearly. It was really amazing to see God using all three of us in very different, but very specific, ways. It was a tangible example of the body of Christ for me.

In all that we discussed, I was most affected by this man’s views on sin. He said that his god would not give him anything that he could not overcome. This sounds good in theory but, in all reality, it’s not entirely possible. I was glad that I could encourage him with my own experience. I disagreed with him because, I told him, there is something in my life that I could never and can never overcome on my own. There is something in my life that tempts me day in and day out. There is something in my life that no matter how hard I try, I, in my own power, just can’t overcome. That “something” is my sin.

Then I got to share with him Who can and did overcome sin: Jesus! I was hoping he understood how amazing the grace of God is and that Jesus accomplished what we never could. I also asked him if I could read him a portion of the Bible. He agreed and I read him the beginning of Ephesians 2:

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Our conversation was challenging, exciting, and helpful. It was challenging because I wanted to see this man come to faith in Jesus and have an eternal relationship with the God of love. It was exciting because I have prayed that God would bring people into my life that I can share the Gospel with, and He did! It was helpful for two reasons: first, because I was able to see where I have room to grow in my knowledge of Scripture to better communicate the Gospel and, second, because I was able to see this man’s perspective and pray for his heart to be turned toward Christ.

Now I hope to meet with him again, talk more about God, and see how I can be praying for him. God is good!

Thank you for reading!

xo sarah

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 wednesday

GWMy husband and I had a wonderful time together last weekend. Thanks to a super subtle (not so subtle at all) suggestion on my part, we took a drive out to Julian to go apple picking! We had great conversation, listened to great music, and it was just so beautiful out in the country. I was snapping as many photos as possible, trying my best to capture our memories. One photo in particular struck a chord with me.

As we were walking from tree to tree, trying to find the best apples possible, we noticed there were a bunch that had fallen off the branches to the ground. There were multiple worm-holes and bruises on these apples. They were dirty and rotten, and people were continually tripping over them. Nobody wanted them. These apples were fallen fruit.fallen apples

I could see fallen fruit right before my eyes and it reminded me of a song that gives a beautiful picture of the Gospel. Please take a listen and read along:

Ghost Ship – Poison Tree 

This tree bears strange fruit

There’s blood on the leaves, it’s dead at the roots
The cracked grey branches are decaying within
Just like the black poison that hangs from its limbs

Come and dig me up, reach down to the roots
Rip the deadness out, and plant something new

I am alive, I will abide
In the life-giving blood of Christ
I’m grafted in, You’ve killed my sin
Now I will live, I’ll live in Him

I tried to tie good fruit
To a tree that had poison all the way through
It rotted and fell off, it was dead to the core
It even killed the ground, I was worse than before

Come and dig me up, reach down to the roots 
Rip the deadness out, and plant something  new 

I am alive, I will abide 
In the life giving blood of Christ 
I’m grafted in, You’ve killed my sin 
Now I will live, I’ll live in Him 

It was a hard day when I realized that I was rotten all the way through: self-righteous, prideful, resentful, disbelieving, and greedy. In that moment, I was so aware of the poison within my soul, the rot within my heart, and what I deserved for my sins. But it was that same day that I felt free. It was that same day that I was brought to my knees in gratitude. It was that same day that I remembered the Gospel:

  • God is good, loving, perfect, holy and Almighty.
  • We are sinners, rebels declaring war against God, and deserve the punishments of Hell.
  • BUT God, being so gracious and loving, sent His Son to live the perfect life we could never live and die the death that we deserve. Jesus, God Himself in the flesh, dies on OUR cross. God’s wrath against OUR sin, which was meant for US, is poured out onto Jesus instead. Jesus made this sacrifice for all who trust in Him for salvation and turn away from their sin and rebellion.
  • Jesus rose from the dead, conquering sin and death. Because of this, God makes us a new creation in Jesus Christ and gives us freedom in life through His incredible work on the cross and by the power of the Holy Spirit. We also have the promise of restored relationship and eternal life in heaven with God.
  • Jesus is ALIVE and He is coming back to set all things new, making all wrong things right, once and for all.

This is GOOD NEWS! I am so blessed to know this truth and believe it. My Soul rejoices in the forgiveness I have been given and the freedom I now have. God is so gracious and has made me a new creation. My heart now longs to worship my Jesus and praise Him always. I desire to share this truth in love and compassion to all.

My prayers go out to anyone who is aware of the poison and sin within themselves. I pray that you would know Jesus and embrace His forgiveness. I also pray that you would repent and believe the Gospel deeply. We can apply it to every area of of our lives. It delivers us and brings us hope eternal.

Colossians 1: 13-14 “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Amen!

Lastly, I researched an article that further explains the lyrics of this song and gives a great background as to why it was written. One quote in particular grabbed my attention. Enjoy this truth: Gospel Wednesday - Fallen Fruit

God bless you! Rejoice in the good news of the Gospel!

xo sarah

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