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

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

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

gospel wednesday

GW

Hello friends. This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I was reminded this week how often I need reassurance. I know the truth, I believe it, and by God’s grace I will persevere, but because I have weakness I seek reassurance.

I think we all do. How often, in your close personal relationships, do you ask to be reassured?

Are we okay? Are you upset with me? Do you forgive me? Do you love me? Have you forgotten me? Are you having fun? Do you like it? Am I doing a good job? How do I look? Is there something in my teeth? (that last one is just for laughs!)

Now think: how often, in your relationship with God, do you ask to be reassured?

I believe the Gospel and I am being sanctified to apply it to every area of my life. However, like I said before, I have weakness. I struggle. I am vulnerable. It’s during those times that I must return to my Savior and be reassured of His great love, forgiveness, and approval. Please take some time to reflect on the verses below and be reassured in how greatly God loves, saves, forgives, approves, gives, leads, and cares.

Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:6-8For 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.

2 Corinthians 5:21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Colossians 2:13-14And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Romans 10:9-13because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

John 6:37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Matthew 11:28-30Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Romans 8:1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Please soak these truths in. Feel God’s grace being lavished upon you. Understand He will never leave you and has forgiven His beloved children.

I, like many of you, am prone to wander. I will need to be reassured of these truths anywhere from one to one thousand more times today. I am so grateful Jesus is always there to come running back to. All glory be to Christ!

xo sarah

 

this abundant list

TAL march 14.1.jpg

  1. My best friend is Korean…and I wish she had introduced this dish to me!
  2. Interesting food mash-up: Carrot Lemonade!
  3. This is a necessity for every office!
  4. Remembering how all other (non-southern California) people experience seasons.
  5. THIS Salad…THIS week! Done.
  6. Great read and resource for many people facing unemployment or job dissatisfaction.
  7. If you don’t follow Nicole’s blog, please do!! So good.
  8. What should I drink this week? Thai Tea!
  9. An unexpectedly great movie I can’t stop thinking about.
  10. Feeling under the weather? Try garlic soup from Food 52.

Well, we’re off to LA for the weekend! Enjoy yourselves.

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 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