Monthly Archives: June 2015

Are you too busy for God?

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“Don’t become so busy working for God that you forget to worship Him.”

Wise words spoken by one of my favorite pastors a few months ago but it’s been on my mind here a lot lately. This time last year I was in a place where God was all I had. I didn’t have the comforts of home, I didn’t know what my day was going to hold, I had reached a place where He’s all I cared about and what He wanted, I wanted. I was at a place where I was more in love with Him than anything. He was all I needed. He was all I longed for. When I woke up we talked, when I went bed we talked, all day long we talked. I used to tell people all the time how easy it was to have that wonderful relationship with God. To be in love with Him. But I have failed. Every day since being home from an environment where it’s so easy to depend on God for everything, I’ve gotten distracted. Our relationship was still good for a while, I still made effort in making Him total priority. Quickly though, I was whisked away into everyday life. Wake up, go to work, come home, get on pinterest, text my friends, go to bed, repeat. Help in Sunday school, help in Children’s church, teach on occasion, do Good news club, write JC Game lessons, work JC games. Give to people in need, be someones shoulder, work, work, work for Jesus. I was doing things He wanted me to do but I stopped noticing Him pursuing me. I stopped pursuing Him with my whole heart.  Now, we still went on the occasional date, but mostly they were times when I needed an answer about something, or I was so stressed out and needed to get away with Him. He still accepted me in those times and He loved me, and He was everything I needed but I wasn’t giving Him the attention He deserved.

Over the last couple months, He’s been dropping hints to me that He wants me back. That He wants to be my everything again. He wants to whisk me away and show me His love in crazy new ways. I’ve been hearing Him and I’ve been wanting it and longing for that close relationship back also but I’ve been to busy to pursue it. And that’s not ok! Now most of the time when you hear of someone backsliding you don’t picture the person who’s always in church, front row, worshipping, helping in all areas, moving to another country as a missionary right? You think, skipping church, not talking to anyone from church, shutting God out, and going their own way. In reality though when you spend more time working for God than you do pursuing Him as hard as He’s pursing you and you stop worshiping Him ALL. DAY. that’s also backsliding. Because what God wants more than your work is your worship. Even if He has called you to serve in the areas you’re serving in He wants your relationship with Him to always come before that. Because how can you most effectively serve in those areas unless you’re in constant communication with Him and you and Him are always on the same page?

Now don’t get me wrong, He’s still the first person I go to when I make a descision, I do talk to Him every single day, we still have a solid relationship right now. It’s just not where it needs to be. I’ve started to put other things above our time together and that’s when it becomes not ok. I used to spend at least a solid hour completely alone with Him every.single.day. and in addition to that we went on a date every week and just did something fun together. I heard His voice constantly because we were inseperable and I want that back. Maybe this is your life too or maybe you’ve never been close to God in that way. Maybe it’s time to go on that very first date with Him or maybe it’s time to renew your vows. To remember how it felt that first time you heard his voice, the first time He held you and comforted you. Don’t become so busy working for God that you forget to worship Him. Let Him have all of you and make time for your relationship. It’s the most important relationship you’ll ever have. But even when you mess up, He’s always going to be there pursuing you, calling you back into His arms.

“I believe that He loves you where you are
I believe that you’ve seen the hands of God
I believe that you’ll know it when
You’re back in His arms again
I believe that He never let you go
I believe that He’s wanting you to know
I believe that He’ll lead you ’til you’re back in His arms again”

-Mark Schultz; back in His arms

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Consider it pure joy to suffer.

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Acts 9:16 – “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

Romans 5:1-6 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

James 1:2-4- Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

1 Peter 1:6-9- In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

“Rejoice in my suffering God? Are you crazy?”

What about when that relationship I’ve tried so hard to build, that I’ve prayed so hard for. It’s taken and it’s crushed. It’s torn to pieces and I have to start from scratch.

What about when I’m lonely? When I feel like no one understands what I’m going through, when what I really want is a friend. A friend I can call when I’m having a bad day, a friend who will make me laugh and encourage me.

What about when I think I finally found that friend and that’s taken from me too?

What about when my doctor calls me and gives me news I don’t want to hear. News that could possibly affect eveything I know you’ve called me to do? What then God?

What about when I feel like I am fighting so hard to follow you. I am doing every single thing that you have asked of me. You are my top priority. Yet, the more I fight to be who you’ve called me to be the more it seems that my world is slowly crashing around me. What is that about God?

In my pain and in my crying, in my hurt and grief. As I sat on my porch yelling out to Him. He answered and said “My daughter. I see you and I am with you. When you have done all you can do to stand. Stand firm in the truth you know.” Which then reminded me of the verses in the Bible about putting on the full armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-20) It basically says when you have done everything you know to do and you’ve done all you can do to stand. Stand firm in your armor. Keep following the truth you know and keep your armor on at ALL times. Never let it get rusty.

I felt better. But I still wasn’t ok. I woke up this morning and God said “You need to go to big church today.” Some things happened and the devil tried to convince me I didn’t need to go. “The sermon is on salvation, you know that stuff.” “They really need you in children’s church today.” “You can’t stand up for yourself. You wont ask if it’s ok to leave and go over.” All to which I replied, “Shut up devil. God told me that’s where I need to go and by golly I’m going.”

I walked in crying, uncertain of what I needed to hear. I am saved. I have a relationship with God. I’m fighting for it! I’m already obeying Him. That’s why I’m in here! But, I’m also broken and worn and I know God’s got something for me.

As I sat there listening, God began to speak. The message was on suffering for the Lord and that salvation is more than just saying you’re a Christian. It’s about denying yourself and acepting that there will be hard times and suffering. But, when you surrender your whole self to God, He’s got it. God had already been telling me that, and I believed it. But the sermon was the nail that drove that truth into my heart. We should rejoice in our suffering. Because as it says in Romans 5 “because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”  The suffering I am going through now is producing perseverance in me. Perseverance to push through and trust God! That perseverance is building my character, who I am as a person. What defines me and how I handle things. And character brings hope. Hope is what I can have in my next trial because I know I can get through it! 

How do I know I can get through it? Because looking back on my life, I can see where God has brought me through things before. One thing Pastor John said this morning is “You need to get so lost in God that you can’t see yourself anymore.” That really struck home for me because I’ve been saying for the last couple weeks, “I’m going through things right now that I have dealt with in the past except this time I’m going through it as a changed person.” I’m no longer who I used to be. I used to be someone who burried their hurt and pain. Who tried to fight it on their own. But now I’m completely emerged in Christ. I don’t recognize the person I once was. I can go through this battle in confidence and with pure joy because I know that with God, I AM going to overcome it.

Before church eneded our pastor said the words, ” I wish this could be a sermon where I could lay hands on you and pray for you. A sermon to encourage you! But I felt like I needed to share the full gopsel and it’s not all fun and easy.” For me though, this sermon was the exact encouragement I needed. Yeah, suffering stinks and it’s not fun! But I do consider it a pure honor to be able to suffer for Jesus! I find joy in that what I’m going through can bring Him glory and He’s gonna get me through it because He’s never failed me before.

So are you willing to suffer for Jesus? Or are you going to run from it? Try and hide from life and go your own way? I assure you although the latter option sounds better at first. Fighting for God and the truth is always worth so much more in the end.