Meet Hannah | Confidence Without Compromise #9

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Hannah, Georgia

Creator, Fighting for the Final Marriage

Meet Hannah. A content creator, vlogger, and ministry founder. In this week’s feature, Hannah talks about committing to Christ and believing His promises–no matter what we face.

Continue reading “Meet Hannah | Confidence Without Compromise #9”

Meet Tyler | Confidence Without Compromise #2

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Tyler, Georgia

Content Creator, Transcending Into Purpose

A vlogger, naturalista, and follower of Christ. In this week’s feature, Tyler talks about how standing firm in faith transforms our lives–and impacts the lives of others.

Continue reading “Meet Tyler | Confidence Without Compromise #2”

Day 12: I will forgive | Love Letters

For·give·ness: The act of forgiving or the state of being forgiven; willingness to forgive.

[Source]

What is considered unforgivable to you?

Think about someone who has hurt you. Someone you could never dream of speaking to–let alone see–ever again. Imagine forgiving that person, as if what had been done in the past never happened.

Quite difficult.

Now think about a time when you have hurt someone. Maybe you didn’t apologize, but to this day, you know what happened. It might be something that appears in your mind now and then. Some days you forget what happened, other days the memory of what you did hits you.

Even harder to think about.

Considering the first scenario, we can easily say, People can be heartless. I could never forgive them. Considering the second scenario, we remember, I can be heartless. How could anyone forgive me? Putting both together, we can conclude that sin is a part of human nature.

Looking closer at the wrong that we’ve done and that others have done to us, forgiveness can seem like the last thing anyone deserves.

A man in the Bible who was deemed unforgivable by society was Zacchaeus.

We’re introduced to him in Luke 19:2; he is a chief tax collector. Tax collectors made a lot of money at this time, so for Zacchaeus to be in a role of leadership, we know he is very wealthy. Tax collectors were typically wealthy for a reason–they were known to be greedy and deceitful. They often cheated people of their money so they could gain more, and as a result, they were intensely hated by others. Pretty much completely unforgivable.

Zacchaeus, a man ostracized by others, is found near a synagogue–the last place he should be according to society, as he is considered “spiritually unclean.” He knows that Jesus is passing through the city of Jericho today, and he wants to see Him:

“And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way” (Luke 19:3-4 NKJV).

Zacchaeus’ determination to see Jesus is fascinating. He not only comes to a place where he is unwelcome, he runs and climbs a tree to make sure he sees Him. Although Zacchaeus has all the money he needs–and probably loves his wealth over anything–he is still empty. Something is missing in his life, and he is searching for it.

God never pushes away those who come seeking for Him–no matter who they are. Jesus displays this characteristic of God by His response to Zacchaeus, a hated man in the world’s eyes: “And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house’” (v. 5).

Jesus sees Zacchaeus and asks him to come. He wants to fellowship with him at his own home. This is unheard of.

Zacchaeus’ life changes the moment he makes contact with Jesus. In verse 6, he comes down from the tree quickly and joyfully. He is filled with utter joy that he is invited by Christ Himself with such amazing love–a love he has never seen before.

However, this interaction is met by criticism. Luke 19:7 states, “But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, ‘He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.’” The crowd thinks it’s wrong that Jesus is willing to accompany a sinner, but they don’t understand what true love is.

Nevertheless, Jesus doesn’t worry about what others think. Jesus offers forgiveness, and Zacchaeus takes it by making a decision to come down and fellowship with Him.

How do we know Zacchaeus is truly repentant? By his actions. In verse 8, he tells Jesus that he will give half his wealth to the poor and return anything he has taken from others, restoring it four times the amount he actually owes! Zacchaeus chooses to abandon his former life as a sinner, in love with money and his lifestyle, to love the God who loves him.

Jesus acknowledges Zacchaeus’ changed heart, saying, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 18:9-10 NKJV). He honors Zacchaeus, mentioning that he is displaying the same faith that Abraham showed in God. This was a huge recognition for someone who was seen as undeserving of any forgiveness. Jesus also confirms what He came to do: forgive.

Jesus came to save those who are lost–to save those who are unlovable, broken, undeserving, and have made mistakes. He came to forgive us.

God tells us, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32 NIV).

Zacchaeus’ story is one of many. The Bible is filled with people who have been forgiven by God, even though they were sinners:

  • King David – An adulterer and murderer, David is called a man after God’s own heart, because he sought God’s forgiveness and turned back to Him.
  • Peter – He denied Jesus three times as if he never knew Him before Jesus died on the cross. Jesus still died for Peter and forgave him when he came back to Him.
  • Paul – He was known as a persecutor of Christians, responsible for several deaths, yet he transformed because he chose God. Not only was Paul forgiven but he was used to establish the church and wrote over half of the New Testament.

Can you imagine that God offered his forgiveness to every single one of them? If God could save them, He can save you.

Just as Jesus called Zacchaeus to come down from the sycamore tree, He’s calling you to come down and come to Him–from wherever you currently stand. The “tree” you are currently staying in could be pain, pride, regret, addiction, prejudice, violence, selfishness, lack of forgiveness–whatever. The Lord saw Zacchaeus where he was–he couldn’t hide. And He sees you, too.

Zacchaeus not only came down from the tree and came to Jesus, he turned away from his sins. He abandoned his former life–where sin and shame lived–for a better one. This was true repentance. And there was joy there.

Are you ready to abandon the former things to let God in? Are you ready for real joy?

A relationship with God isn’t an elite club only open to the best, the brightest, and the most righteous. It’s open to everyone. I encourage you to take a hold of God’s forgiveness today. You are not out of His reach. You are not too far gone and unable to be restored. God’s love for you means He offers His forgiveness to you.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14 NIV)

Love Letter 12

[*Please note: Today’s post is based on a sermon I recently heard at my church.]

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.

Read Day 11

Read Day 13

 

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Day 9: I will take you higher | Love Letters

Fa·vor: the state of being approved or held in regard.

[Source]

God’s love for you comes with favor. When you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are welcomed into the body of Christ. You are part of the family of God: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 ESV).

As part of this family, you have an inheritance. You are approved before God, and He holds you in high regard. You have access to Him–on earth and one day in heaven. You have access to His promises for you.

God makes a way when there is no way. When you commit your life to the Lord, you can expect Him to show up when you least expect it.

One of my favorite examples of favor in the Bible is Ruth’s story.

In the book of Ruth, we find that Ruth is living in a time of complete hopelessness–there is famine, corruption, and she experiences the death of her husband. However, Ruth decides to commit herself to God. She states to her mother-in-law, Naomi, “‘Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God’” (Ruth 1:16 NKJV).

When she loses everything, Ruth displays her loyalty to Naomi–but most importantly, she declares her loyalty to God. She wants God to be her God. She knows love for God means obedience. As she’s following Him, she receives favor from Him.

Boaz, a man of God who has great inheritance (wealth), recognizes Ruth because of her love for God, which is again displayed by her actions:

“And Boaz answered and said to her, ‘It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge’” (Ruth 2:11-12 NKJV).

Later on, Boaz blesses Ruth with a large supply of barley to take back to Naomi. Boaz and Ruth eventually get married. The theme in this book is obedience. Ruth is recognized for her obedience to God and rewarded by her obedience to God. She is given favor among men and even given a new life where she now has access to more than what she had before.

I’m sure Ruth didn’t know what was on the other side of her obedience, but she trusted in God anyway. We don’t know what’s on the other side, but if we trust in God and obey His commands, we can have confidence in His blessings.

God can take you higher than where you are now. He will not let your enemies triumph over you. He can promote you. He can give you favor in that job interview. He can provide financial blessings where you are lacking. He can restore broken relationships. He can deliver you from trouble. The key is to honor God–not because you want the rewards but because you want Him.

Remember: Ruth wanted God to be her God.

God sees your heart, and He is near those who draw near to Him. If you have a heart that truly wants to please and live for Him, it will be clear through your actions. You will see His promises for you unravel time and time again throughout your life.

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16 NKJV)

Love Letter 9

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.

Read Day 8

Read Day 10

 

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Introducing: Love Letters

Do you know your love language? You know, the way you really receive love?

If you’re keen on receiving gifts, and someone brings you flowers, your heart might soar for a while. Or if words of affirmation are your thing, and your friend compliments your new haircut, you might be feeling fly for the next few hours.

In other words, every one of us has a unique way we recognize we’re loved by someone else.

So, when someone communicates this exact way, we feel supported, cared for, and cherished.

However, when someone doesn’t communicate the way we’d like, we can feel forgotten, overlooked, and invisible. Even though it’s not true.

It’s often a matter of someone knowing us well. Ever see a funny joke, and think–wow, so-and-so would die if they saw this!–to yourself? It’s probably because you know that person very well. The better you know people individually, the more you know what they appreciate. But even if we know each other well, we don’t always do the best job of showing our love to each other–or knowing how to.

There is Someone who knows you quite well, better than you can ever know yourself. We may not always feel loved by others, but no matter how many failed or broken attempts at love you’ve witnessed in your life, God cannot fail you in His love.

God loves you. Like actually loves you, and He wants you to recognize His love for you. He knows you inside and out, and He knows what you need. He knows your love language…your deepest needs–even the ones you haven’t uttered.

So, why don’t we always feel this love? It could be a matter of not knowing who He is.

For the next 14 days, I want to challenge you with this: what would happen if every day, you took time out to understand God? To learn how God views you? To learn His love for you? His purpose for you?

How could your life change?

That’s where these Love Letters come in. For the next 14 days, the LizMargaret blog will share a statement from God’s Word itself (not my words) about who God says you are. The Bible, His Word, is His love letter to you.

You deserve love. I know that experiencing true love can change the course of your life. I invite you to join me for the next two weeks to take a closer look at God’s true love for you.

Starting tomorrow (Valentine’s day!), we’re going to embark on a daily journey of truth, discovery, and transformation.

Subscribe to lizmargaret.com to get a Love Letter delivered to you every day for the rest of February!

I look forward to walking along this journey with you!

Read Day 1

 

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How To Be A Better Friend | Video

What makes a good friend? What’s the purpose of friendship? What kind of friend are YOU? All these seemingly simple questions require us to look deeper at the people we surround ourselves with and the person we’re becoming. Today, I talk about friendship and God’s purpose behind it.

Click below to watch the video!

 

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The Reason You Are Unfulfilled

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. 

(Revelation 2:4-5a ESV)


I’ll tell you a juicy secret.

I’m guilty of something. And I realize that every believer is guilty of this, too, at some point in their faith.

In the midst of all the losses and gains in our lives, we forget our first love. standing alone_edit

A fulfilling relationship with Jesus Christ can easily stop at the moment of salvation. By that, I mean we invite Christ into our hearts, acknowledging our need for Him for eternal life. This saves us and secures us for heaven. But we need to know that salvation doesn’t stop there. It continues now in our relationship with Him. Just as you desperately needed God to save you from sin, you still desperately need him to be everything–above any earthly desire you currently have.

Are you finding it difficult to really give something to God? You can pray and pray over and over, submitting it to the Lord. And you should. We’re taught to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), to come boldly before the throne (Hebrews 4:16), to test every spirit–any thing or person that comes our way–to see if it is really from God (1 John 4:1).

But if you’re struggling with unfulfilled desires and deep longings that seem to remain unmet time and time again, you may be missing a crucial thing.

Continue reading “The Reason You Are Unfulfilled”

How to be Single | Video

It’s easy to fall into the trap of having faith in every area of our lives…except for one. It might be that you trust God with sharing the gospel, but you don’t trust him in your finances. Or perhaps, you trust Him with getting you through school, but faith runs short when it comes to your family.

I find that many people have this mindset when it comes to their dating life. But why is that? Has being single become a lost art? Today, I talk about this in my new video.

Click below to watch!

Love Series | Final Thoughts

Why did I start the Love Series?

Love has always been on the human mind, and I believe there are reasons for that. We’re designed to serve something, to live for something, and if we don’t have a love oriented towards God, this can get out of control.

It’s easy to panic about who God has for us in friendships, marriage, and other relationships. Who does God want in my life? Is this person supposed to be there? Will I even get married? So many young and/or single people go through these thoughts. I’ve seen people, men and women, young and old, go through depressions and anxieties over this.

The problem is that we’ve been consumed by romantic love for so long. It’s a beautiful thing, but it’s one thing out of several other beautiful things life has to offer. We’re a multidimensional people. Life has many other components–yet we get stuck on love.

What is it about love?

Through this series, I wanted to show that God’s love “works,” and it’s real. It’s an active love from an active God. It’s a love that surpasses all earthly things and restores us beyond comprehension. It has worked for those in the past, it is working now, and it will work in the future.

God has so many plans for us on earth, and our lives don’t start when we fall in love or get married. For those who are in relationships or married, a relationship with God is vital to uphold. A person who is dedicated to the Lord will be able to love and serve in that relationship from a Christ-like perspective.

Relationships will not cure loneliness, insecurities, fear, or lust. I believe we limit ourselves, others and God by viewing romantic love as the turning point of our lives, the quick fix solution to any issues. As I’ve emphasized in the series, this thinking leads to making unwise choices, having unrealistic and unfair expectations of our loved ones and can bring severe conflict. However, a God-centered mindset about love can foster godly relationships that can live up to their potential.

Overall, it’s important that we stop waiting and finally live the life God has for us. We have a purpose bigger than marriage. We cannot foresee the future, but we keep trying to control it. Although I have written the Love Series from the perspective of a young, single woman, everyone should let go. Let go of idealizing people. Let’s let go of fears and worries about the future. Instead, let’s continue to understand who God is, who we are in Him, obey His commandments, and live life as it ought to be lived.

If you missed it, check out the Love Series, in the links below!

Introduction

Part 1: Ruth

Part 2: The Samaritan Woman at the Well

Part 3: Anna

Part 4: Elizabeth