We CAN Trust God

I think I’ve learned more about truly believing in the sovereignty of God these last few months than ever before in my life.  For a long time I’ve trusted and believed He was sovereign over the “big things” but that truth never really trickled down into my life and the things happening to me.  I would fear that I made a wrong decision and fear future outcomes because  of it. It’s through the power of the Holy Spirit, a deeper look into Scripture, and the wonderful encouragement of a mentor-that I’ve began to see how little I truly trusted God and his sovereignty and HOW MUCH I can and should.

Peace in every circumstance comes when I remind myself of His sovereign plan and purpose for me.  I cannot put into words the blessing that it has been to be able to stop my tears when I ask myself, “Is God not sovereign? Is He not working things out for your good and his glory? Does He not know you best and love you most? Is He not intimately involved and invested in your life? Are not His purposes greater than all else? Are not His ways perfect?”

Yesterday, I found this little hymn and was so encouraged by its words of truth. I put a new little tune to it and committed it to memory. I’ve already had to sing it to myself in a moment of anxiousness! Hopefully it blesses your heart as it blesses mine, and you too can be reminded that all your times are in His hands!

My Times are in Thy Hand

My times are in thy hand

Father I wish them there

My life, my soul, my all I leave entirely to thy care.

My life, my soul, my all I leave entirely to thy care.

 

My times are in thy hand

Whatever they may be

Pleasing or painful, dark or bright, As best may seem to thee

Pleasing or painful, dark or bright, As best may seem to thee

 

My times are in thy hand

Why should I doubt or fear

My father’s hand will never cause his child a needless tear

My father’s hand will never cause his child a needless tear

 

My times are in thy hand

Jesus the crucified

The hand my many sins once pierced is now my Guard and Guide

The hand my many sins once pierced is now my Guard and Guide

 

Practice Sharing the Gospel!

I am the Teaching Assistant for a Public Speaking class at Lancaster Bible College, and I love it! One of the things I appreciate most about it is that it is taught through a biblical worldview. We are training and working hard to speak well, not so that we can be well liked, successful, or just to pass a class-but because we as believers want to be articulate and confident in communicating truths to people.

The gospel is the MOST important thing we will ever say or share. I encourage my students to practice their graded speeches beforehand because it helps with nerves, flow of thought, and dramatically increases the effectiveness of their presentation.  Why would we not practice sharing the gospel?! I told my class that it should come so naturally to them that I should be able to sneak into their dorm rooms in the middle of the night, shine a flashlight in the face, and say, “Tell me the gospel!” and they should be able to do it!

After assuring them that I won’t actually do that, I explained how I am incorporating a new game into class whenever we end early or have “down time”. Right now I just call it “Gospel Dice”, but if you can think of a better, more creative name-please let me know in the comments below!

Anyway, it’s simple-I choose a student at random and they roll the die, whImageatever number they land on is the amount of minutes they have to share the gospel! They tell us who their target audience will be (i.e. Children, Atheists, Hindus, Family, Amish, etc.) and we start the timer; they don’t stop until their minute/minutes are up!

I know you are not in my Public Speaking class, but I encourage you to try this sort of thing too! Maybe next time you pop something in the microwave for three minutes, practice sharing the gospel during that time. Or if you’ve got a commute to work, instead of jamming to the radio, turn off the music and thing about how to explain the gospel to someone who doesn’t believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, or the deity of Christ. With your best friend, take turns practicing at a local coffee shop, asking each other questions when you use confusing jargon. It’s the most important thing you’ll ever say-why not practice?

Feel free to comment below with any thoughts/experiences you have with this sort of thing!

What Not to Say to Someone Who’s Suffering-video

In response to my post yesterday that suggested “You Might be the Answer to your Own Prayer“, which is about talking to suffering people about the gospel, I’m posting this video. It was super helpful for me to listen to and think about the different reactions I have and things I say to Christians who are suffering.

I wonder how/if these three men would respond differently if the question was “to unbelievers”? What do you think? If we are talking to our atheist or agnostic friends, should our response to their suffering be the same as how we respond to believers who are suffering? Do we still remain silent, just “let them hurt” and tell them, “I don’t know how you feel. This is horrible.”? Or do we find ourselves in a glorious opportunity to share of Christ’s suffering and offer of salvation?

You Might be the Answer to Your Own Prayer

There are some people in my life that I pray for pretty consistently. And I pray for them about the most important thing I can pray for anyone about-their relationship with God. Often times I say something like this:

“Lord I care so deeply for ________, and I know you care for them even more. Please Lord, I know that they will only be whole if they stop trying to live life on their own and they run to you. I so badly want them to find purpose and joy and in you. I want to be able to talk to them about how amazing and faithful and fulfilling you are. Father, please, do whatever you have to in their life to bring them back to you. Do whatever it takes for them to see their need and find their meaning in you. Help them see the truth. I love and trust you. Amen.”

And I pray that and I mean that. But I am still surprised when it starts to happen.  We God starts to allow things in their life to unravel to show them that HE is more satisfying than anything this world has to offer. That HE is the only true love, real friend, steadfast peace, and eternal hope that they can have. But they can’t always see it on their own. Not past their own tears, confusion, and pain-they are blinded by it. So again I pray “help them see the truth”.

Then I realize that God has been preparing my heart for this. That I am not supposed to stand idely by and watch them grapple with purposelessness, but instead I need to be ready to help them see what God wants them to see. I don’t want this opportunity to come and for me to miss the role that God wants me to play in it because I am too afraid to “offend” or “make things awkward”.

I guess my point to all of this is to say, that if you have someone in your life (like I do right now) who is hurting badly, I think that you might be the answer to your own prayer. If you have been praying for them and God allows trials to come, maybe through the power of the Holy Spirit it is YOU who is supposed to be breathing truth and weaving the beauty of the gospel into the tapestry of their story. Pray for words of wisdom, the perfect mixture of love and boldness, and divine appointments to know when to be silent and when to speak to help them see the truth.

Checking Jesus Out at the Door

Don’t you hate it when you realize that you just checked Jesus out at the door?

No I don’t mean “oh hey Christ-looking good”-that’s just weird,

I mean when you ignore him-thinking something else will satisfy you more.

 

You talk to him, cry with him, learn of his goodness while sitting at his feet,

And then all of a sudden your cell phone rings, it’s time to go

There’s someone more important to meet.

 

And though you know He is the only one who truly knows you, and time ignoring him is a waste

You’ll spend hours of your day, living and thinking as if he doesn’t exist

Only when it’s convenient actually seeking his face.

 

And I hate this about me, and I’m sure you hate it about you.

Why can’t I embrace and live the reality of a relational omnipresent God

Instead of just being who I want to be and doing what I want to do.

 

I don’t want hours to go by when I don’t even think of Him.

I don’t want to make decisions or have conversations without His input

Thinking that my own worldly wisdom can do on a whim.

 

Because frankly, I’m an idiot. Forgetful, sluggish, weak-just to name a few.

And so when I depend on my own strength and understanding

I just make a mess of things or can never follow things through.

 

And every time I do that, every time he isn’t a part of my convo, evening, or plan

I know I’ve just squandered an opportunity to experience true delight and flourishment

Instead wasting heart and effort on what? The approval of sinful, mortal man?

 

So I have to constantly realign my sin-soaked, selfish heart, my wandering focus and  my gaze

And when I’m in the word, I have to plead to the Holy Spirit

to help me keep His glory and majesty present every minute of every day.

 

Because the truth is that the best, happiest, fulfilled we’ll ever be the side of glory

Is when we are steadfast in knowing, showing, devoting, delighting, proselytizing, obeying, appreciating, consecrating,

and resting in the beauty of our God and the grace of his gospel story.

 

(This poem started as a rap because I have a secret desire to be a rapper for  a day…but it is much harder than I originally anticipated! Also, I am rhythmically challenged so this little poem is just going to have to do!)