Day 3: I can offer you more | Love Letters

More: to a greater extent.

“Maybe this is as good as it gets.”

Have you ever found yourself saying that? That you have no choice but to stay where you are, because it will only get worse from here?

You might feel you must stay within a bad relationship, because there’s no one else for you. Or, you feel you have to hang out with toxic friends, because otherwise you’d be alone. Maybe you feel you need to sacrifice your health to get perfect grades, because you’re convinced you’ll fail if you don’t. You feel you have to perform perfectly at work, or else you won’t be valued.

Whatever the case is, you feel as though if you don’t hold onto something, you have nothing.

Any of these things–relationships, grades, or careers–can disappear at any moment. And you probably know this, which is why you feel the need to maintain them constantly.

These are all things you can enjoy, if they are good things. But when you find your entire worth in them, you’re going to find yourself empty.

You were not made to find your security in temporary things. God has more for you than that. He provides more, or to a greater extent. But how do we get to this “more”?

Understanding God’s love for you is the first step. His love for you is unchanging, and it lasts forever. When you secure yourself in God–a sure and permanent thing–you’re able to make better use of non-permanent things in life.

You won’t put pressure on others to reassure you. You won’t feel defeated over your mistakes. You’ll be able to walk away from negative people and situations, because you know your worth is not in them. You’ll be able to enjoy your blessings–knowing your worth is not in them, either.

Your value is not based on what you have or don’t have. God sees your value. He created you with value.

God can do more for you than what you can do for yourself.  What you see with your own eyes is the surface. When you commit your life to Him, you’ll find that good moments in life can get better. And better.

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 ESV)

Love Letter 3

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

Read Day 2

Read Day 4

 

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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”

Build Each Other Up

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.

(Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NKJV)


How open are you to help?

Sometimes, it can be totally awkward to ask for help. I was a shy child, and the thought of raising my hand and asking the teacher a question in class was terrifying. Something about it put me outside my comfort zone. Of course, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown out of that, but it’s interesting to see how far I’ve come.

Today, I was reflecting on the power of community. Many times when I have faced a challenge, God provided someone to guide me. Sometimes, I prayed and asked for help, other times He simply provided the help before I could even think of it. Whatever the case, I was extremely grateful.

Community is a significant part of our faith. God places loving each other as a command. Romans 13:8 states, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.” We can exercise love through acts of service such as being hospitable, praying for each other, going out of our way to meet a need. But I find when it comes to correcting each other, we tend to shy away.

Continue reading “Build Each Other Up”

Do You Listen to Others Before You Listen to God?

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

(Proverbs 19:20-21 ESV)


If you are going into a battle, who would you want to come fight with you?

  • Someone who doesn’t want what’s best for you and may even harm you
  • Someone who is fearful and will restrict you
  • Someone who will stand with you and fightsocial media_black and white

The answer is clear–the last person is ideal. You want someone who’s on your side to fight with you. The reality is, in the day to day battles we fight, we don’t always see people’s true colors or intentions–at least not at first. Even with social media today, everyone has an opinion, everyone will have advice to give you, but not all advice is right.

 

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 John 4:1 KJV).

Proverbs 19:20-21 instructs us to listen to wise advice but also to know God’s Word stands above everything. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what anyone says or plans out if it’s contrary to God’s will. He has the final say every time!

It’s essential that we listen to God’s voice before we listen to the voices of others. People will be quick to tell you what they think you should do–and even base their advice on their own experiences. However, you don’t know if this person is advising you based on their own fears or based on wisdom. Their story is their story. Your story is your story. What happened to them won’t necessarily happen to you. God’s got you covered with a unique plan.

“The Lord of hosts has sworn: ‘As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand’” (Isaiah 14:24 ESV).

This doesn’t mean we should be skeptical of everyone we come across. God needs us to care for each other and build each other up!

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14 KJV).

If someone is living a godly life, you’ll know based on the fruit of their lives. We just need wisdom regarding who we follow–whether that’s online or in real life. God’s Word will always reign true, and His commandments don’t change. It’s OK to take notes from those you admire and to learn from other people’s past mistakes. Discipleship is valuable, and it’s a commandment. Make sure what others tell you lines up with what God tells you. God will give you the discernment–you just need to go to Him first. Learn the Bible for yourself. Check and see what God says about your problem before you try and consult the Web or someone else.

Stay teachable, but know why you believe what you believe according to the Word.


My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:  For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

(Proverbs 3:1-4 KJV)

The One Thing I Learned as a 20 Year Old

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

(Matthew 6:25-26 NKJV)


Every year on my birthday, I have a tradition where I take time to reflect on the past birthday-balloons_editand write about how I’ve changed. This year in particular is special, as I come to the end of being 20 years old! To celebrate the last two decades of my life, I wanted to do something quirky–perhaps a 20 Things I Learned at 20 kind-of-thing–but as I brainstormed ideas, I couldn’t help but notice that there was actually one important lesson I learned this past year.

One lesson that was underneath all the other ones I have learned. One that I realize God has been trying to teach me for years:

Stop trying to figure things out prematurely.

I know that I want to control things. I want to know what will happen next and choose the ending if I can. However, as I’ve grown in my faith, I’ve learned that God’s plan is always better than mine.

So, when I had this revelation, I didn’t initially understand it. I thought, Well, God, You know I just want to know Your will. No harm in that. That’s true. Wouldn’t we all want to know God’s will for our lives?

However, what He showed me through various scenarios was that my desire to know His will had turned into an inability to trust Him. Take for example, a few months ago in the spring. I had applied to three different internships, which I hoped would lead to full-time positions by next year. However, waiting to hear back from them was agonizing. I worried about which path God wanted me to take, as it would possibly affect my soon-to-be career. My attitude would constantly fluctuate, from calm to impatient to discouraged. I bounced back and forth, wondering, God, what do You want me to do? Please, give me clarity.

This discouragement brought intense doubt. I couldn’t understand why God wasn’t giving me the clarity I was asking for. I worried that I wouldn’t have any internship that summer, and consequently, my career goals would be hindered. Perhaps I wasn’t good enough for the opportunities I wanted.

Funny enough, in this particular instance, all I had to do was wait. Little did I know, in just a week or two, I would hear back from all three internships I applied to and could now make a decision. God closed and opened doors that led to the opportunity that was best for me.

Before then, I was trying to make decisions based on nothing. Nothing happened (yet), but I believed I needed to know the future immediately!

Not all situations I’ve been through have been as simple as this one. I’ve been through circumstances that have required longer turnaround times or didn’t necessarily end up with happy endings. However, what I’ve learned this year is key: walking ahead of God steals joy.

With a limited perspective, it’s easy to find ourselves trying to skip ahead of Him. Think back to Eve in the Garden of Eden. Satan tempted her to eat the forbidden fruit, using the idea that she could obtain the kind of knowledge only God had:

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat (Genesis 3:5-6 KJV).

Eve stepped into a place where she didn’t belong, and the enemy was clearly behind it. This action not only affected her but Adam and the rest of humanity.

When we try to walk ahead of God, we make hasty decisions that lead to guilt, shame, and regret from the consequences that follow. Before the fall, Adam and Eve had no shame–as God intended: “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25 KJV). However, when they walked outside God’s will–His intentions–they experienced shame, one of the consequences of sin. Immediately after Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they tried to hide from God: “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden” (v. 8).

This past year, because of my impatience, I was careless with my thoughts and emotions, and consequently, attempted to take matters into my own hands. Yet, by God’s grace, I didn’t act on impulse and was instead reminded that He is a God of order and timing.

The season in which we are in now has a purpose, as will the next season and the ones to follow. However, if we try to skip ahead, there are consequences. When I tried to figure out my future and rush ahead of God, the enemy capitalized on that to make me feel hopeless and discontented  in areas that I wasn’t even previously concerned about.

Do we really gain anything from trying to figure out how our lives will play out in the future? The only thing we might gain is confusion, anger, and resentment from the frustration of our circumstances. It’s essential that we must stop making problems out of nothing and wait upon the Lord.

Fortunately, God knows our shortcomings, and He graciously waits for us to come back to Him. However, if we decide we don’t want to listen, He’ll let us get our way, and our way probably won’t turn out well.

It comes down to whether we choose to trust the Lord and be stable in our circumstances, without knowing the future.

Moving forward, I know which choice I’m going to make.

Here’s to making 21 and the years to come about continuing to walk with God–with Him in the lead.


Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

(Genesis 6:34 NKJV)