Stand

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” –Ephesians 6:13

Perhaps it was someone’s words earlier today that cut me (unintentionally of course) or just the quietness of the night, but doubt is here.

“What am I doing wrong? Am I not hearing You correctly? Do I need to wait longer? Did I not pray long enough? Should I have fasted? Are there other disciplines I am missing? Is this even aligning with Your will? Did I get ahead of you again? Should I even be doing this? And lastly, God I am lost”. 

-(But am I really?) 

These are the questions that have pestered my mind tonight. “Am I lost?” Echoing and leaving me to wonder and wander.. I know my family believes I am. To them, (or at least one person has come forth) I should be in a better place “financially” and “professionally”. I graduated college years ago and have “nothing” to show for it. I am still in the same town I grew up in, at the same job, no house, no “career”, no romantic relationship. I often feel like a failure in the presence of this individual and feel like I am not enough, that I need to be more. So in this person’s eyes I am lost. 

And for a moment I believe it. I start seeing everything that I am involved in as a means to hide the truth. I see my exercise regimen, my healthier meal plans, and church as a distraction from the proposed idea that I am lost. So I begin to wonder..

-Why am I doing this? 

-Is there a point? 

-Should I even try anymore? 

And just as doubt starts to gain ground, encouragement comes forth. I am reminded of the  randomn texts espressing  how my lifestyle has inspired them to incorporate exercise into their routine. I recall Spiritual conversations that have taken place at work (randomny) but from which we have walked away from to revisit on another day. I am reminded of opportunities  to serve  in my church and spiritual authorities extending their right hand of fellowship to me. So then I am left to wonder, “What is going on? So, I am not lost? I am right where I’m supposed to be? I am hearing from You, right?” 

Lately, I have been hearing encouraging words such as, “Singleness is a gift. Speak your Faith not your problems. It’s gonna be worth it”. And at times I think, “Is it?”. If “Singleness is a gift? Why do I feel like I am getting nowhere? Where is the ministry? Where is discipleship? I am not discipling anyone and no one is discipling me. Why am I not being seen? What am I doing wrong? Where are my promises?”. But then I feel this stirred in my heart, 

Him: “Why are you limiting me? You’re only speaking from what you can see, your vision is limited. You see with an earthly mindset; I see with a Heavenly mindset”. 

And just like that, Ephesians 6:13 came to mind. Casting out all doubt. The beauty? This all took place in a matter of minutes. 

Ephesians 6:13 exhorts the reader to put on the full armor of God and after everything to stand. That’s it just stand. So what does that look like? It means that although it’s beyond our understanding we stand in Scripture. We hold fast to the Truth of His character and Promises in the Bible. If Scripture states He does not forsake us, then we are not forsaken. If Scripture states and illustrates that He is good, then He is good and we need to declare that truth over our life. If Scripture states He has plans to prosper us hand give us a hope and a future than that’s what we need to hold fast to and believe. God never calls us to fight in this verse, but He calls us to stand -stand in faith. Live out our faith day to day and let God take over the rest. He is moving in more powerful ways than we can fathom. He is bringing freedom. He is bringing resolution. He is bringing victory. He hears us and He is faithful. 

-That’s the Truth. 

I say all this with one purpose: to encourage you. I recently read in one of the blogs I follow, Wonder and Wandering, “Will it be worth it?”. The blog proposes a radical perspective. David had been  anointed as King, but what if he never had been appointed? Would it still have been worth it? The proposed answer is yes. A relationship with God is worth it. It’s a relationship based in love not in rewards or outcome. Ironicalky, this thought was also proposed at my church this morning. The pastor used Daniel 3 as an illustration. Meshac, Shadrach, Abednego, and Daniel did not know the outcome but they remained and stood solidly in faith. They were thrown into a furnace and could have died but that thought never deterred them from their faith. And it wasn’t until tonight as these doubts pestered my mind, that I “got it”. I have desires burning deep in my heart, and I believe these desires have become promises in my life, but the fact that I can’t see them unfold in my life right now will not keep me from believing in the One True God. The outcome of my heart desires will not dictate my faith, Scripture will. 

So hang in there precious one. To the one believing for an unborn child, to the one whose heart years to spread the gospel in a foreign land, to the one believing for a husband, a partner in ministry, to the one believing for a job, to the one believing for healing, to the one with a recently brokenheart, to the one who feels lost, this one is for you. Remember, in this world you will have troubles but take heart He has overcome the world. 

He has overcome. 

One day this will not matter. We will be in Heaven rejoicing with the angels singing to the One who fulfills us the One who completes us. I wish I had immediate answers  for you; I don’t. But I do know there is One who cares for you, and loves you. Seek Him. Find refuge in Him. Stay steadfast and stand. 

My prayer and hope is that you find the peace, strength, and understanding through this post. I appreciate you for reading. I leave you with this song that has brought great comfort to my heart. I pray it will encourage and bless you. 

Your friend in Christ,

S

Song: “Take Courage” 

https://youtu.be/r49V9QcYheQ




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I don’t say “AMEN!” to many things but to this…AMEN!

“Singleness is a Gift from God” http://www.watermark.org/message/3543

There are so many perspectives on “Singleness” and sometimes they echo one another, but this one is different. I recommend it. It’s not just for “singles”… I will warn you, the end portion of it does tend to move towards a more mature audience just in case there are any younger audiences out there.

I hope it blesses you the way it blessed my life.

-S

 

This isn’t a cold brew. It’s iced coffee.(Revised)

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” –Matthew 7:3

Many weeks ago, I went to my favorite coffee place (Starbucks or as Graham Cooke says “St. Arbucks”) and I ordered my favorite drink. That afternoon, I was meeting my gal pal  for cake and coffee, and when they called up my order I did not go up to the counter. You see, what I had ordered was a sweetened iced coffee with 2% milk, and what they had called out was a sweetened cold brew with 2% milk. My friend asked, “Isn’t that your drink”?  Skeptical, I walked up to the counter, read the label “cold brew”, and when the very nice barista noticed my quizzical expression, he told me “that’s yours”. So I grabbed the cup, and a little bummed returned to my seat. When my friend asked, “What was wrong?”. I just stared at the counter with a saddened expression and whispered, “I got a cold brew..”. She then replied with, “Isn’t it the same?”. And that’s where this started…

Contrary to popular belief, an “iced coffee” and a “cold brew” coffee are not the same thing.

By appearance: yes.

By color: yes.

By taste: no, no, no.

The difference between these two beverages lies in the brewing process. An “iced coffee” is just regularly brewed coffee poured over ice, but a “cold brew” is different. The brewing process for a “cold brew” involves soaking coarse-ground beans in water for 12 hours or more (usually overnight). The result: a coffee beverage with less acidity and less caffeine content. So although they look similar, they are two distinct coffee beverages.

Which brings me to Matthew 7:3, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”. How often do we look at a situation, and immediately start imposing our own views over it? Just because a similar experience may have happened to us, does not mean that it is the same for another individual. Likewise, just because someone is upset or may even come across as disrespectful, does not always indicate that it is because of us. But how often do we point the faults of another without looking at ourselves? The other day, someone came into the place I work and needed assistance. This person’s behavior included: three irritated sighs, finger tapping on the counter, and speaking over another individual. After analyzing her behavior it would appear this person was  a) in a hurry b) irritated c) disrespectful/rude. These were the first observations I made, and honestly I was a bit annoyed at the entire situation. Luckily, it was time for my lunch break so I left thinking it was all behind me…

-wrong.

I was jamming out to some song on the radio, when I felt my thoughts interrupted by..

knock, knock, knock.

Ignoring it, I stopped at the red light and put on my turning signal.

-There it was again, knock, knock, knock.

I made my turn, and then the words, “Sarahi, (pause), Sarahi”. Okay by now He had my attention. This was the internal conversation:

Him: “Grace”.

Me: “Yes I know but she was rude”

Him: “Grace child. Have you not also had bad days?”

Me: “Yeah..”

Him: “And…”

Me: (By now I know the source of the times I have had bad days and those around me have been tolerant with me and sometimes call me out on it–these are the things that haunt me the most. I am not proud of it, and take it hard when I am not reflecting God’s love). 

Him: “They love you, just as I love you, and I love her. You don’t know her story; she was having a bad day. (Him still feeling resistance on my part) What if she doesn’t know any better?”. 

And by then my hands were up in full surrender and when I got home, I prayed. I prayed for forgiveness, for correction, and for another opportunity to see it through Christ’s eyes and not my own. And then I prayed for this individual. I asked God to bless her, to make her laugh, that she would feel appreciated, loved, and cherished, and that she would cross paths with another churched member that day. 

He has a way like that, to help me see what I can’t see. I don’t know this person, for all I know her pet had died or her significant other broke up with her or her roommate decided to move out. The only thing I knew were the facts: she was young, she had a problem, and came to the place where I work for help. That is all I knew. Yes, her behavior did come off as disrespectful. Could I had been the reason? Perhaps. Perhaps I typed too slow and she was in a hurry to get to another appointment. But likewise outside factors could have been the reason for the disrespectful behavior, and just to really throw things up a bit, maybe she wasn’t rude at all. What if she is from another area where this type of behavior is what the culture there considers “normal”?

-Yeah, God really taught me something that day.. 

Iced Coffee and a Cold Brew Coffee can be on a counter and appear to be the same beverage. But as you get closer, you will observe a difference in tint, label, and if you research the brewing method, you will see these two coffee beverages are not the same. They hold similar qualities but still not the same.

So just because some one is having a bad day, does not mean you are the reason for their bad day. Just because you have lived through a similar life experience (college, dating, breakups, engagements, weddings, promotions) does not always make you qualified to give advice.  Most of the time, people are just seeking to be listened to, comforted, and loved. A smile, a word of kindness, forgiveness, an act of service are great methods to extend that type of acceptance and understanding towards them. We don’t hold the answers, but there is One who does and through our actions and words we can point them to that Light they need to obliterate the darkness.

Please, don’t mistake me, I don’t have it all figured out. I mess up A lot, ALOT, but God is kind, gracious, and forgiving. He loves me and He loves you too. Others may not know the depth of your story, but the Creator does.

As always, thank you for reading. I hope this post served the purpose God intended for it to be composed. Blessings!