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

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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

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

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

{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 monday

Gospel Monday

A shorter post today. I wanted to share an awesome video that spoke the truth and gave me encouragement this week.

The video is a Matt Chandler sermon jam explaining that the Gospel is not about man’s effort – what we do or don’t do – but about what God has already done through the sacrifice of His son on the cross. It was taken from his sermons “Standing” and “Of First Importance“.

Basically, Matt Chandler says it better than I ever could. So, please watch this and spend some time celebrating God’s amazing grace and wonderful truth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mROvpR93QL0

It’s ALL about JESUS!

xo sarah

gospel monday

Gospel Monday

This week I wanted to share a new song I’ve been really loving lately. It’s called Grace Alone by Dustin Kensrue from his latest album The Water and The Blood. You can listen to the whole album here!!!

I have been so touched and encouraged by all of the truth in the lyrics below. Please read and pay attention to what is being communicated. The words are so simple and at the same time, so profound. In short, the Gospel is so clearly and amazingly laid out in this song.

We rejoice that God has taken it upon Himself to call us to salvation and forgiveness. God has adopted us, predestined us, and called us His own. Please be encouraged and enjoy!

GRACE ALONE

I was an orphan lost at the fall
Running away when I’d hear your call
But Father, you worked your will

I had no righteousness of my own
I had no right to draw near your throne
But Father, you loved me still

And in love before you laid the world’s foundation
You predestined to adopt me as your own
You have raised me so high u above my station
I’m a child of God by grace and grace alone

You left your home to seek out the lost
You knew the great and terrible cost
But Jesus, your face was set

I worked my fingers down to the bone
Nothing I did could ever atone
But Jesus, you paid my debt

By your blood I have redemption and salvation
Lord, you died that I might reap what you have sown
And you rose that I might be a new creation
I am born again by grace and grace alone

I was in darkness all of my life
I never knew the day from the night
But Spirit, you made me see

I swore I knew the way on my own
Head full of rocks, a heart made of stone
But Spirit, you moved in me

At your touch my sleeping spirit was awakened
On my darkened heart the light of Christ has shone
Called into a kingdom that cannot be shaken
Heaven’s citizen by grace and grace alone

So I’ll stand in faith by grace and grace alone
I will run the race by grace and grace alone
I will slay my sin by grace and grace alone
I will reach the end by grace and grace alone

How has God’s grace been worked out in your life?

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GW

I have been so challenged lately by my idols. They are flaring up big time.

I despise it, but I idolize the approval of others.

I want my husband to think I’m perfect (as if!). I want my oldest friends to see me as caring and successful. I want people to approve of the career path I’m on. I want people to love my blog and appreciate my creativity. I want our finances to be “right” in the eyes of others. Basically, I want everyone to like me. A LOT.

AUGH. As you can see, it is a real struggle. While most of these things are not inherently bad, the problem is with my own heart. I have shared the honest truth with you all, and – at the same time – a bunch of shallow lies.

Lie: I do not already have all of my husband’s love and approval.

Lie: I can be perfect.

LIE: Being caring and successful means I have gained worth.

LIE: My career defines who I am.

LIE: This blog is my source of approval or measure of my creativity.

LIE: Our finances will someday be “right”, according to the world.

The hardest part of this struggle is that I actually know THE Truth. The ultimate, unchanging, never-ending, all-encompassing, incredible Truth.

The only approval I need is from God above. Based on my sin, this is impossible. With Christ, this is absolutely possible and entirely accomplished. In Christ, I have 100% of God’s approval. I have ALL of God’s love. When God sees me, He no longer sees my wickedness, but He sees Jesus’ blood that covers me. His righteousness was given to me; His “success”, His “creativity”, His “wealth”, and His “care” was transferred to my account. Jesus held nothing back when He died on the cross. He bore all my shame, all my sin, all my pride. Jesus is God. He stood in my place and He is my salvation. I do not need to long for praise from people in light of this truth, but to give all praise to Jesus and His great name.

I hope you can fully trust God’s truth as you live this life He has given you. God’s grace gives us the choice to trust Jesus and the choice to turn from our evil ways. I want to make that choice today and every day. I want what God says about me to be the only thing I believe. I want to praise His holy name forever and ever.

xo sarah

gospel monday

Gospel Monday

Good morning friends!

I learned something new this week and I’ve been so excited to share.

Let’s start with Scripture in John 1:16 – For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

What is it to receive grace upon grace? It is to receive BLESSING! What is His fullness? It is His ABUNDANCE!

It is incredible that Jesus has given all of us blessings that flow from His abundance. However, what I learned this week was what a blessing actually is!

A blessing is anything, good or bad, that will help us to experience and know more about who God is. It is a new opportunity to give God praise. Another privilege to see God more clearly.

It is amazing to me that God longs to bless us, and to give to us out of his abundance. God doesn’t want to hide His face from us, but wants us to know Him fully. He deserves our praise!

I was reading my devotional about this and it had a great section I will paraphrase: “You can be blessed in the midst of a terrible situation, because being blessed doesn’t mean you have no trouble or struggle or sorrow; it doesn’t mean you aways experience success or comfort. Instead, it means that in the midst of the trouble and struggle and sorrow, you find yourself deeply secure, profoundly content, and happy in Jesus. To know God, walk with Him, and share life with Him – that is the essence of blessing.”

This really helped me put into perspective what blessings really are. It changed my heart to be more in tune with giving God praise and finding Him in all areas and at all times in my life. I am more convicted to be content with what He has given me, because He is helping me to know Him more. I am encouraged to see the biggest blessing, or “grace upon grace”, that God has ever given me: The Gospel!

The gospel teaches me how Jesus saved me, transformed me, and gave me the great opportunity to know God. To know His love, grace, sacrifice, kindness, faithfulness, and incredible forgiveness. THAT is a blessing that keeps on giving!

How has God revealed Himself to you through His blessings?

xo sarah

sick & resting

Hello friends!

Well, my goal to be posting more regularly in 2014 came crashing to a halt. However, that does tend to happen when you pick up a case of acute bronchitis…booo. I’m getting better day by day. Drinking lots of hot tea and asking my hubby to do little things for me. He’s the best. He even puts up with me taking a million instagram pictures of him (see below):

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The biggest part of getting better is REST. Hitting the pause button on “life as usual”. This is hard for me to do. I am not a workaholic, but I do tend to have lots of plates spinning all at the same time. It’s very hard for me to let my home get out of order or tell people no. I need to grow in this area.

So what has rest looked like for me the past couple of days? I’ll tell you.

Sleep. Water. Prayer. Green tea. Honey. Homemade OJ. Vitamins. Watching movies. Inhalers. Reading. More prayer. Tissues. Magazines. Naps. More prayer! I know God will heal my body according to His purposes. I trust Him. So, until then, I am resting.

As I said, I have watched some movies. A couple of guilty-pleasures: The Parent Trap (Lindsey Lohan version) and She’s The Man. Also, a great heart-felt comedy with Paul Rudd and Tina Fey: Admission. And of course, I had to get a romantic drama in there too: The Lucky One (a little too raunchy for my taste, though). Four movies people…that should be a cure in itself!

I also spent some time reading. I have read through a few magazines (mostly Martha Stewart & Real Simple) and tore out what I like. My stack to go through is becoming unbearable, so making a dent in it has been nice. I am also reading two devotional type of books: Comforts From Romans and Abundant Life Day Book. I hope to get through more of East of Eden as well. Lastly, I spent time in the Bible meditating on Scripture. I refreshed my mind with a chapter out of Genesis, and then dwelled on the attribute of God as Creator. Time well spent and very restful.

Something I have been learning for a while now is that true rest comes from God alone. Knowing that He is always good and faithful. Enjoying Him and His abounding love. Believing that He is always with me is a constant comfort. His graces are new for me everyday and I can safely abide in that truth. The Gospel tells me that I am saved, made new, and belong to Jesus. He quiets my soul and brings peace to my heart. Ahhhh…just writing that out is restful for my spirit.

You can expect a new post from me later on tomorrow though! I will be writing a new This Abundant List post…because clicking around the internet can be pretty restful at times like this as well!

P.S. – I totally wanted to add one more instagram of Bret, but I held back the urge. You’re welcome.

xo sarah

gospel monday

Gospel Monday

This week is widely known as Holy Week. The week before Resurrection Sunday or Easter. I hope this post can encourage and inspire you to dwell on the gospel and all that it entails this Easter season. An amazing article written by Jason Holcomb from The Resurgence, inspired this post. Holcomb lays out the Gospel so clearly and it reminds us of what truly happened:

JESUS DIED

Jesus was really dead. He was beaten and scourged. Many people died just from the scourging. And then he was nailed to a cross with three spikes that were 7–9 inches long and a half-inch thick. And to make sure he was dead, they speared him in the side to pierce both his lung and heart. He died the death we should have died. He died in our place for our sin. John 19:1-37.

JESUS WAS BURIED

Jesus was also buried and everyone involved knew where. The tomb was sealed with a Roman seal and guarded so nobody would mess with it. The chief priests, disciples, and followers of Jesus all knew where it as. It was under Roman guard. His body wasn’t misplaced; it was in a tomb for three days. John 19: 38-42.

JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD

Jesus rose from the dead. He showed up to his disciples and followers and then to over 500 people who saw him (1 Cor. 15:6). His disciples didn’t steal his body and promote a hoax they claimed to be true and for which they would all later be killed violently. He didn’t pass out on the cross, resuscitate later in the tomb, tear off the 75 pounds of linen burial cloths, push back an enormous stone by himself, and then overpower armed guards. His resurrection proved his victory over sin and death and ensures believers’ regeneration (1 Pet 1:3-5), justification (Rom 4:25), and future resurrection (1 Cor 6:14). This part of history can be found in John 20-21.

As this week continues, I encourage you to read all 4 gospels’ (Matthew, Mark Luke and John) descriptions of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Each one shows a unique perpective, but all show the same immeasurable love that Jesus has for His Father and His children. Jesus endured the wrath and death that we deserved so that we can have forgiveness and joy everlasting! Prepare your heart this week and celebrate what has been accomplished for ALL who believe! It is something WORTH celebrating every day of our lives! Jesus is ALIVE!

LINKS: PROOF of the Resurrection and It Is Finished!

xo sarah

gospel monday

Gospel Monday

What is the Gospel? This is a question I repeatedly have to ask myself. The Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ! But to better understand what the Gospel IS we need to define what it ISN’T. Last week my church as well as my husband and I discussed the following:

  • The gospel is not therapy or self-help.
  • The gospel is not a system of morality.
  • The gospel is not political or social deliverance or restructuring.
  • The gospel is not about your personal fulfillment, giving you a reason to live or a purpose.
  • The gospel is not even actually about heaven or hell.

Wow! When I really take the time to think about what the Gospel isn’t, I can better understand it for what it is. Yet, because God is so good, the Gospel can bring us purpose and fulfillment and the hope of eternity in our daily lives. Ultimately, however, the Gospel is not about us. It is entirely about GOD! His glory, His power, His wonder, His will, His amazing grace. And this is a good thing! Below are a couple of quotes I really appreciate about the Gospel:

“The goal of the gospel in not our personal transformation, moral renewal or therapeutic healing. That may be the effect of the gospel, but it is not the goal…our salvation comes from believing the gospel, it is a result or effect of the gospel, but it is not the gospel itself.” Mike Gunn

“The Christian gospel is not merely that Jesus died and rose again; and not merely that these events appease God’s wrath, forgive sin, and justify sinners; and not merely that this redemption gets us out of hell and into heaven; but that they bring us to the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ as our supreme, all-satisfying, and everlasting treasure. “Christ . . . suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” John Piper

“When Paul speaks of “the gospel of the glory of Christ,” he means that the events of the gospel are designed by God to reveal the glory of Christ. This is not incidental to the gospel-it’s essential. The gospel would not be good news if it did not reveal the glory of Christ for us to see and savor. It is the glory of Christ that finally satisfies our soul. We are made for Christ and Christ died so that every obstacle would be removed that keeps us from seeing and savoring the most satisfying treasure in the universe-namely, Christ, who is the image of God.” John Piper

Words fall short of how to describe the goodness of the Gospel…but GOSH it is so good! I am challenged to begin preaching the gospel to myself and others all throughout the day. Internally and externally. I want to remember my God who saved me, always, in all things. I would encourage you to do the same! Until next week, friends!

xo sarah

gospel monday

Gospel Monday

Fact: “…Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17

My intention in writing “Gospel Monday” is that all would hear the good news of the Gospel and believe in the salvation we have in Jesus Christ! This last weekend I was challenged by a chunk of Scripture in Matthew and I wanted to share what I learned.

Matthew 16: 24-26 {Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus}

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

This passage tells me that as we follow Jesus, it will cost us everything. Our selfish desires, our expectations, our reputation. At face value, that doesn’t sound so great…however, because we see the amazing grace that was shown to us on the cross, we no longer count our life as the most important thing in the world to us! We only count Jesus as the most important thing to us: His will, His love, His grace, His character, HE IS KING!

Then I was challenged with a very intense question: “Is there anything you would say no to God about?”

Wow…I would like to say, “NOW WAY, NO HOW!” But because I know that my affections can be pulled every which way at times, this question haunts me. I can only pray that God would give me the absolute trust in Him that He requires. That I would count my life as nothing and Christ as everything! And because God loves me, I know He will answer this prayer.

Lastly, I wanted to share an encouraging hymn. This hymn encourages my heart and brings me to a place of worship before God. It helps me to remember the amazing truth of God’s power and the life I desire to live.

“You would Reign” – Starfield

You thought of us before the world began to breathe 
You knew our names before we came to be 
You saw the very day we fall away from you 
And how desperately we need to be redeemed 

Lord Jesus 
Come lead us 
We’re desperate for your touch 

Oh great and mighty One 
With one desire we come 
That you would reign that you would reign in us 
We’re offering up our lives 
A living sacrifice 
That you would reign that you would reign in us 

Spirit of the living God fall fresh again 
Come search our hearts and puify our lives 
We need your perfect love we need your discipline 
We’re lost unless you guide us with your light 

Lord Jesus 
Come lead us 
We’re desperate for your touch 

Oh great and mighty One 
With one desire we come 
That you would reign that you would reign in us 
We’re offering up our lives 
A living sacrifice 
That you would reign that you would reign in us 

Hope you were encouraged by the Word of Christ today!

xo sarah

gospel monday

Gospel Monday

Last Friday I had the great pleasure of seeing the motion picture Les Miserables.

I had no idea what to expect from it. I knew it was a musical and I knew it was long. However, I read the book in high school nearly ten years ago and my familiarity with the themes and symbolism were pretty much gone. Ultimately, though, I do remember loving the book and feeling like I could relate to some of the characters in one way or another, flaws and fortunes alike. After seeing the movie, it all came rushing back to me. Les Miserables is a literary masterpiece and, whether Victor Hugo meant to or not, a wonderful representation of Gospel themes.

Les Miserables is French for “the miserable ones” or “the poor ones”. How fitting.
If we can relate to the characters in this story for any reason, it is this one. We are all miserable and poor and dead in our sin apart from the forgiveness and grace of our Savior. This is something the story portrays in great detail and brilliance.

The characters are real, vulnerable, and majorly flawed. The main character Jean Valjean sees this in himself. He sees his proclivity to sin and then run and hide in dark places, away from the God who loves him. The character Javert is so obsessed with the law and keeping moral order that he misses the point of compassion, grace, and second chances all together. The character Fantine sees this in herself as well. She tries to find her identity in a man and, when that falls apart, she has no where to turn but to her own sin. Not until her last breath does she recognize her deep need for God to show grace to her and save her.

Ultimately, these characters are fictional and while their stories can encourage us and bring out some of our deepest emotions, they can only go so far. The world that we live in today is not fictional and nor is the God who created it. He is eternal. Jesus loves His children and does not desire that any one should perish or continue in a life of miserable sin.

Exodus 34: 6-7 tells us about God’s never changing character and love: “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…”

Romans 1:21 tells us about our natural state: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Romans 5: 8-9 provides us the clear direction of our faith and salvation: “…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.”

Isn’t Jesus amazing!? While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Even as I have sinned today, Christ has forgiven me and speaks His righteousness over me. Jesus, You are beyond words and I am in awe.

Ultimately, Les Miserables is a movie and it majorly falls short in comparison to the Gospel and Glory of God. But, it was pretty exciting to see such magnificent themes of grace and that God was being glorified in Hollywood. I was blown away and truly brought to tears in remembering the Gospel during this movie.

xo sarah

gospel monday

Gospel Monday

Through out the year 2012 our church has been going through the book of John and studying the love, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Part of our “homework” was to go back through and read the entire book again, on our own. I hope to finish that up by the end of the night, but I wanted to share a passage of scripture that really shows us the Gospel and what God’s character is really like.

It is the second most popular verse in the entire bible after, “In the beginning, God…”  I bet you all have heard of it or seen it on the bottom of your In N’ Out cup at some point. The verse I’m talking about is:

  • John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

This is magnificent! God loves His children so much that He would send Jesus to this world for US! And He did not come to live a normal life and die a normal death. He came and lived a perfect life and died the death that we deserved. And simple belief that Jesus was who he said he was: God, Savior, and our ransom…this is eternal life. Amen!

Some verses that help drill this truth even further are immediately following:

  • John 3:17-18 “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.”

I am constantly blown away by the great love of our glorious God! He did not send Jesus to this world to condemn us! But, He came to die on a cross so we could be forgiven of our sins and experience His all-sufficient grace in every moment of our lives. I will forever praise Him for giving me faith to believe that He was who He said He was: my God, my Savior, and my ransom.

xo sarah