2 Truths That Will Make You Question Your Faith

2-truths-that-will-make-you-question-your-faith

Do you keep sinning over and over? Then repenting over and over? And you can’t seem to break this cycle of sin, rinse, repeat? If so, then you may be accidentally misunderstanding the Gospel and what Jesus actually did.

If you believe Jesus died for you then there are two things you will know and I believe they are two major keys to growth in Christ.

1. You have been forgiven.

When you mess up, do you beat yourself up really bad or even consider giving up? When considering God’s word that you are forgiven you might think, “But I knew better!” or “But I keep messing up!” – But believing in Jesus means believing who He is and what His word says. Not believing in what your feelings or wavering faith are saying at the moment, but believing God instead of what you feel.

But am I really saved? Am I really forgiven?

Often believers get hung up on Hebrews 6:6 and 10:26, which speak of those who sin and are unable to be renewed unto repentance – but this speaks of people who abuse the grace of God purposefully and sin, developing an unrepentant heart about your actions.

But you can know God has forgiven you and hasn’t left you by seeing that your heart is grieved and desperately wants to please the Lord! 1 John 3:19-20 tells us, “And this is how we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.”

We can know that God’s word remains true and is greater than our thoughts and feelings. It’s so very hard to forgive ourselves because forgiveness is not ours to give ourselves – it’s God’s. But we must be willing to receive it!

You must accept God’s forgiveness.

When Jesus was washing the disciples’ feet, Peter felt unworthy and told Jesus he didn’t want to be washed. Jesus told him if he didn’t then Peter had no part with him. Peter then understood and begged him to wash his whole body.

When we understand that Jesus came to Earth for this sole reason – to cleanse us – we will cast aside our unworthy feelings and accept His cleansing forgiveness. After all, that’s always been the only way to Him, not our own works.

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from a guilty conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22).

Like the prodigal son, when you even begin to repent, God runs to you, puts His garment of righteousness on you, gives you a family ring and celebrates your return. He knows the worst thing that can come from your sin is that you never return to Him.

The enemy knows this too. In fact, the devil tempts you to sin not because losing one battle gives him victory, but because he wants you to feel unworthy and tired of trying. It is an attack on your faith in hopes that you will either give in to bondage or give up on God.

God’s forgiveness is like the story I read of a judge ruling a woman who had many traffic fines due to hard life events. Having pity on her, he lowered the debt to only $50. She was tearfully taken by surprise. Then when the judge learned she would be left with only five dollars, he totally canceled her debt and let her go. She was immediately empowered to live more successfully because her debilitating debt was erased. By his kindness and authority – like the judge – God forgives, forgets and empowers us to live free from the weight of our debts.

2. Jesus has given you power over sin and evil.

Not only did Christ’s death provide the forgiveness of sins, but has also given us the power to keep us from sin when temptation hounds. This is just as important as believing he forgives, and it is key to breaking a sin cycle.

Jesus said, “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19). The Bible also affirms, “When you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

Why is it so hard to win against temptation sometimes?  

Many times we are not truly believing in, are forgetting, or lack the knowledge of our authority in Christ. If we truly believe Jesus died and rose again with all power in his hands, and defeated sin and death, then we should believe in the power of his Word when we are faced with tempting lies.

We must stand by his Word and not our feelings. We must learn that our feelings lie to us and that God’s word is always true. The more of His word we know, the bigger our shield of faith will be to deflect the lies.

Has God abandoned me?

Another dilemma that gets in the way of us not receiving God’s forgiveness or power is when many times we begin to feel that God has left us for failing too much. God says he will never leave us or forsake us – this is true. The root of this feeling is that there are times when we move away from God when we sin. Our sin may separate us from God’s truth, but not His love. Here is why:

  1. Sin is everything outside of God. So when we choose sin, we turn away from the face of God – the truth – and become blinded by the lies of temptation and sin. We must keep our eyes on the Truth. But we can only do that by turning back to God.
  2. Our sinful desires to do things outside and apart from Him naturally cause us to move away from Him. You cannot serve two masters, you will love one and hate the other. You will be devoted to one and despise the other (Matt. 6:24).
  3. We may feel guilty and try to hide from His presence. Just as Adam and Eve immediately hid after they sinned against God, sometimes our guilt causes us to take the same approach. And guilt points back to taking our eyes off the truth of the cross – its forgiveness and its empowerment – which is why we sinned in the first place. Hence the cycle. Hence the enemy’s tricks.

So let’s stand firm in the truth of the cross. We have been forgiven and we have been given authority over all evil through the power of the Holy Spirit. God’s love will never leave us, nor will He.

“Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” Hebrews 10:35

A way that we can practice walking in God’s truth daily is by reading His Word, meditating on the battle armor He gave us, and by immediately confessing our sins and in turn receiving his forgiveness and power – a practice known as “spiritual breathing.”

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” Jude 1:24-25

See also:

Subscribe in the sidebar and never miss a post!

Advertisements

Are You Believing Lies About Love?

are-you-believing-lies-about-love

The meaning of love is one of the most philosophized questions in life.

With a society that defines love as personal desire, lust, and irrational feelings, it only fosters pain and heartache to an already self-absorbed and broken society.

But the Bible tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8). Knowing this, we can discern all the lies about love and replace them with truths:

Love is not romance.
Love is not a feeling.
Love is not attraction.
Love doesn’t have preferences.
It is not reserved for our family or people that we like.
Love is for everyone, even our worst of enemies.
Love can be hard. It doesn’t always feel pleasant.
Love is not deserved and can never be earned.
Love cannot lie. It speaks in actions yet has no agenda.
Love is fully grace and fully truth.
It is the epitome of pure.
It cannot be tainted.
Love is incorruptible.
Love is the Spirit of God.

It’s not important to be in love, but to have Love in you.

 


Have you ever wondered why the heart represents love? Because it’s what keeps you alive, what keeps you going. Your highest desire. Let God be your highest desire, not yourself or anything else. Only He can fill the void and give true satisfaction.

Step outside of your selfish borders of love, invite Love into you, and watch you and those around you be transformed by it.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

What has God been laying on your heart about His love lately? Comment below.

Subscribe in the sidebar and never miss a post!

“Do You Want to See That He is Risen?”

do-you-want-to-see-that-he-is-risen

Three years ago, I had a dream that really helped boost my faith.

I dreamt I was in a house with a long, dim hall full of doors. A man (or an angel – not sure) said to me, “Do you want to see that He is risen?”

Fighting against the urge to let fear stop me, I quickly agreed and walked with him down the hallway. We approached the third door on the left and arrived at the most hideous door you can imagine.

The door looked like something you’d see from a graveyard scene in a horror movie. It was covered in dirt and roots and looked as if it had been rotting for thousands of years. Fear radiated from it. Behind that door was my doom.

It was terrifying, but I tried to ignore the fear because I knew that if Jesus truly rose from the dead then I shouldn’t fear.

The door opened.

As soon as it opened, everything the door made me feel – intense fear, evil, dread, hopelessness, and death – instantly vanished as a peaceful, empty tomb was revealed. The atmosphere shone with a ray of sunshine from a window, revealing the empty burial cloth and bed.

The tranquility and peace were so immense and pure, that it filled me up with power as if it was the Spirit of God Himself. I knew evil, death or the grave had absolutely no more power.

I began running down the hall to proclaim to the world with sheer joy, “He’s alive! He’s alive!” as if for the first time I truly understood what that meant.

After this dream, I better understood the deep emotions that surrounded Jesus’ death and resurrection – especially that of Mary Magdalene who was the first to hear this good news.

Imagine the anguish and despair she felt. Up in the quiet hours of the early morning – deprived of sleep from crying the entire weekend – to prepare spices to place in the tomb of the Hope that was snatched away from her by an unforeseen murder.

The sting of hopelessness would be final as she would go visit His disfigured body in that cold tomb, sealing the gloom she felt. Evil had won once again. Death had won once again. Her people would never inherit their promise. They would never be free.

But upon approaching the gloomy graveyard, something even stranger happened. The morbid sight she expected to find was not there. She found that Jesus’ grave had been robbed. Little did she know that it was Jesus Himself who robbed it.

“Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you seeking?” Jesus asked her.

Can you hear Jesus asking you the same thing?

“Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” he asks, genuinely confused because He’s standing right in front of you.

Look through the fog of your negative emotions and expectations, and recognize the face of Jesus Christ, who is risen from the dead with ALL power in His possession.

The powers of evil have had their rights revoked.

Sin has no more power. Death has no more power.

You have inherited your promise.

You are free.


Have you ever found yourself looking past Jesus? How did He show up? Comment below.

Subscribe in the sidebar and never miss a post!

When You Don’t Feel God’s Presence

when-you-dont-feel-gods-presence

Until recently, I use to equate feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit with the feeling of being enveloped in extreme love and peace – which actually is the Spirit of power, love and a sound mind that 2 Timothy 1:7 speaks of – but God taught me that those are only a few fruits, evidence, of His presence.

I learned that if we are to be aware of the Holy Spirit’s continual presence, we must be aware of all of His attributes.

Galatians 5:22 tells us the evidence of God’s Spirit includes:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-control

Other parts of the Bible tell us more on who the Holy Spirit is. He is:

A few years ago when I was discouraged and wanting to feel His presence, I heard Him say to me, “The truth is my presence, and my presence is the truth.” And today I’m still learning the depth to those words.

God is the Spirit of Truth – the Living Word. In the midst of every trial and temptation, His presence is that voice of Truth and Wisdom, telling you the righteous route to take. He’s the Power, reminding you of your strength and authority in Him. In the face of grief and adversity, He’s the small voice counseling you and telling you it’s going to be okay. He’s the Patience and Gentleness telling you to handle that rude person in a different manner than your flesh wishes to.

He’s the Spirit of Glory, whose beauty we see all around us in nature. The Spirit of Life, in whom “we live and move and have our being” – the One who’s presence we can never escape (Acts 17:28).

God may not always choose to manifest Himself through overwhelming feelings of love and peace, or by speaking to you. Sometimes He wishes to impress on your heart. After all, that’s what He’s always been after.

So as children of God, let’s look to the Holy Spirit and His continual presence by remembering who He is and what He does. Then may we better understand His omnipotent presence.

“I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever – the Spirit of Truth.” John 14:16-17

Have you ever felt that God wasn’t as near as He used to be? How did God reveal to you that He was still there? Comment below.

Subscribe in the sidebar and never miss a post!

What Can Your Bad Dreams Teach You?

jeremy-thomas-63102You know the kind of dreams you have where you can’t run? Where your teeth fall out? Or where the ground suddenly becomes unstable?

I recently had a dream where I was walking around a lake and the ground started shifting and turning sideways. I had to try and hold on and climb up it without falling off. It was chaotic, scary and impossible. It seems that’s how existence would be if the universe was all directed by random chance.

Imagine gravity being randomized or the earth drastically changing and morphing every other second. But they are not. There are physical laws set in place, which point to God’s perfect control. And I am very glad there are.

Aren’t you glad you wake up every day and look like the same person? And that your teeth don’t suddenly fall out? Or that the earth doesn’t flip on you as your walking down the street?

Since there are definite physical laws and promises in this life, then we can be certain that the other laws and promises that God has also given us are definite as well. We are given these promises and expectations through the Word of God, the Bible.

So as Christians, why do we fear? Why do we let our minds go crazy and worry like we don’t know what our future holds? Like the sky is going to turn upside down from the weight of our problems?

Wake up! It’s just a bad dream.

The Bible says, “Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Psalms 23:6). So stop fearing and believe His promises! Like physical laws, they are unbreakable.

Fear not, for I am with you; Don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and I will help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Subscribe in the sidebar and never miss a post!

God Print #3: The Influence on Civilization

god-prints-treeEaster just passed and I can’t help but think of how much the Bible has influenced society.

If it wasn’t for the Bible, we wouldn’t celebrate our favorite times of the year, like Easter and Christmas (they have been commercialized and mixed with other traditions, but still).

We wouldn’t have 7 days in the week if it wasn’t for the Bible. It wouldn’t even be the year 2017, but we count from the time of Christ’s birth.

Most of us wouldn’t even have our names if it weren’t for Bible.

My name – Kylah (spelled Kaila), Aaron, Abigail, Adam, Andrew, Anna, Ariel, Barack, Candace, Chloe, Christian, Claudia, Daniel, David, Diana, Elijah, Elizabeth, Ethan, Gabriel, Hannah, Jacob, James, Jared, Joel, John, Jordan, Joseph, Josiah, Julia, Leah, Lois, Lucas, Luke, Lydia, Mark, Micah, Michael, Nathan, Paul, Philip, Rebecca, Reuben, Sarah, Seth, Simon, Steven, Tamar, Thomas, Tim, and the list goes on.

And after your parents named you, a certain medical procedure was done to you if you’re a male, which came from the Bible. (… I’ll leave it at that).

medical symbol

Speaking of medical, I personally don’t think we would have the symbol of medicine if it weren’t for Moses’ story about healing via the snake on the pole.

We wouldn’t even have the most fundamental laws that keep us safe, which are founded on “thou shalt not kill, steal, lie,” and the rest of the 10 Commandments. Our businesses are even closed on Sunday because of the Sabbath day commandment.

And there’s so much more. If we took the Bible and its principles out of everything, society wouldn’t be left with much. 

Your name might not be in the Bible, but it could be in the Book of Life. Learn more here. 

Subscribe in the sidebar and never miss a post!

Night Earth. Africa and Middle East

Contradiction #3: God is Invisible

contradiction-arrows

People say God must not exist because you can’t see Him, but there are lots of things we can’t see and we still know they exist:

  • Oxygen. Something we can’t survive without.
  • The wind.
  • Gravity, magnetic forces, and other forces that influence us all.
  • Some gasses, which are still very powerful and explosive.
  • Radio waves, heat waves, UV rays, x-rays, and other forms of radiation.
  • You can’t see reason, intellect, or thoughts.
  • Love, anger, sadness and other emotions we experience.
  • We can’t see WiFi or a song playing in the air, but we still know it is there and something is causing it.

But why doesn’t He just show Himself to us?

Well, He did. His name is Jesus Christ and they killed Him because they didn’t believe Him. But then He rose again on the third day. And He did this all so we can know and have a relationship with Him, and no longer be blinded to the knowledge of Him because of our sinful nature.

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Colossians 1:15

“Faith is the evidence of things we can’t see.” Hebrews 11:1

Would you like to know God personally? Learn more here.

Subscribe in the sidebar and never miss a post!

5 More Things My Cat Taught Me About God

5-more-things-cat-header

I’m always so amazed at how much God can teach us through the most ordinary things in our lives. For me lately, it’s been my cat, Boots.

Here are 5 more things my cat taught me about God:
 5-more-things-cat-1

Our hearts melt at our pet’s sad eyes when we leave home in the morning. There’s a whole other melting when we return and they happily greet us at the door. These are the most precious moments to us, because it displays how they willfully love us – without us having to bribe them or pull them out of their hiding spot.

Pets may not always listen and do what we want them to. But if we commanded 100 percent of their actions, they wouldn’t be our loving pets – they’d be smartphones. And we don’t love our smartphones. Because they are just material items that can’t love us back. In the same way, God gave us free will because he didn’t want robots. He didn’t want to force people to love or obey Him. He wanted it to be a choice so it would be true love and not force.

“God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” Acts 17:27

5-more-things-cat-2

Cats can have the biggest mood swings. One second they’re purring on your lap and the next they’re biting your arm because you pet them wrong. But that’s just how cats are. They have their likes and dislikes, but they don’t essentially change. They don’t go through long periods in life where they forget about you or decide they don’t love you anymore. Our pets stay the same. And so does God.

What you experienced with Him yesterday or several years ago, you can experience today. He is still the same. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Knowing that we humans are the ones that change, we can examine ourselves if we feel a negative difference in our relationship with God.

5-more-things-cat-3

My heart was broken the times my cat Boots was in physical pain or when he was depressed after he was separated from his sister. We may feel silly or dramatic for feeling this way and think it is something that God wouldn’t care about.

But, again, we are in His image and He has the same emotions. God loves animals more than you or I or anyone at PETA ever could. He created animals. If we feel horrible when bad things happen to them, then imagine how much more it hurts Him.

“The creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay … And we believers also groan … for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.” (Romans 8:21, 23 New Living Translation)

5-more-things-cat-4

Once, Boots snuck outside and was lost for three days. He thought he was having the time of his life chasing lizards and girl cats around the neighborhood. He didn’t know his life was in danger and that he could die from lack of water, a larger animal, or get ran over by a car. He could have come back home anytime or came to my voice when I went calling him.

Though I knew he didn’t really want to, I still searched for him intensely because I didn’t want him to be harmed. Because I love him and didn’t want to be separated from him forever. When I finally found him and he saw me, he wouldn’t stop yelping in joy. In the same way, God seeks us even when we don’t know we’re lost.

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10

5-more-things-cat-5

Sometimes Boots meows and follows me around begging for my attention or a treat and I love every minute of it. Because cats usually have such an independent, do-things-on-my-own attitude, I enjoy the times he willfully comes to me and needs me.

I think humans are the same way – so independent, trying to take everything on ourselves. But when we look to God for help and He has our full attention, He is delighted by our gesture and blesses us.

“If humans, being sinful, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him?” Matthew 7:11

5-things-my-cat-kylah-and-boots

Though God searches for us intensely, He will never force Himself in our lives. He gave us free will so that we could choose to know and love Him.

Would you like to know God personally? Learn more here.

Read Part 1: 5 Things My Cat Taught Me About God

Subscribe in the sidebar and never miss a post!

 

5 Things My Cat Taught Me About God

5-things-my-cat-taught-header

God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may be masters over all the wild animals and creatures upon the earth.” Genesis 1:26

We are made in God’s image.

But we tend to forget that means we have a lot of the same emotions and characteristics that He does. Just as God is Master over us, we are masters to our pets. And if we have such strong emotions and love for our pets, then we can be sure that they’re just a small shadow of the infinitely greater love that God has for us.

Here are 5 things my cat taught me about God:

5-things-cat-god-artist

When I look at my cat Boots, I am amazed when I consider the creator of such a beautiful, wonderfully-made creature! Boots has beautiful, bright green eyes that are full of life, a graceful stride, and soft, perfectly-patterned fur made especially for petting sessions. But above all, God’s greatest work of art is each and every one of us, created uniquely in His image.

“For we are God’s masterpiece, created in the Messiah Jesus to perform good actions that God prepared long ago to be our way of life” (Ephesians 2:10, ISV).

5-things-cat-god-adores

I love my cat Boots and I’m not even one of the true crazy cat people – just moderately crazy. I have several nicknames for him (including Booty), and I treasure all of his little quirks. To me, he’s just the smartest, cutest thing in the world. I’ve never gotten tired of his adorableness.

Do you think God, the One who knows everything about you, feels anything less? No, infinitely greater! God loves you more deeply than you could imagine (Ephesians 3:18-19). He even gave us cute little animals to make our hearts melt.

5-things-cat-god-proud

I talk about my cat – probably too much at times – and I enjoy hanging with him. I even have a photo of Boots as the background on my phone. I love my cat. He is not just mine, but I totally own that fact and brag that he is mine. God does the same with us!

“God is for you. Had he a calendar, your birthday would be circled. If he drove a car, your name would be on his bumper. If there’s a tree in heaven, he’s carved your name in the bark. We know he has a tattoo, and we know what it says. ‘I have written your name on my hand,’ he declares.” – Max Lucado

5-things-cat-god-sense-of-humor

Many people like cats because they are funny creatures. Sometimes Boots leaves his tongue out after he meows and it’s hilarious. Just recently, when he noticed The Aristocats playing on TV, his eyes got huge and were glued to it for 20 minutes. God loves to see us laugh. The Bible tells of His sense of humor and speaks of God laughing. And if we laugh, then we know God laughs even greater!

5-things-cat-god-more-forgiving

My cat is very mischievous. He loves to play, fetch, and explore new things (like grocery bags). Every morning when I get dressed, Boots jumps on the overhead rack in my closet. He walks back and forth all over my folded clothes, sometimes knocking some down. But I don’t get mad or yell, because he’s adorable and I love him.

Now I’m not saying that God likes when we do bad stuff or that He won’t correct us or let us experience consequences – because He will. But I am saying that if I’m patient with my cat because I love him, then God is unimaginably patient with you. When certain things feel unforgivable and too big of a mess to clean up, God reminds you that He’s big enough to easily fold things back up – and that He still adores you.

5-things-my-cat-kylah-and-boots

“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalms 86:15

If you feel like you’ve been needing forgiveness, love, or have been wanting to know God more intimately, just ask Him! He’s sure to answer you.

See also:

Subscribe in the sidebar and never miss a post!

God Print #2: The Chicken & the Egg

56256845_sSince God Print #1 was on the topic of creation, it was natural for me to write about this question. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

The chicken and the egg riddle simply points to an outside source having created either the chicken or the egg. Think of it in terms of humans.

Which came first, a human or human sperm cells? The human couldn’t be created without the sperm cells, and the sperm cells couldn’t be created without the human. Therefore, neither of them could have gotten there without an outside source – a Creator – creating and placing them there.

“God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them. God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:27-28

galaxy