Real

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:8-9

In life, we try to keep up appearances. Even in church – where we all know that we are weak and are in need of a savior, sometimes it feels like people are just putting on their “Sunday clothes”. Obviously, everyone is a sinner, but some people might hide it better than others. We HAVE to be aware of our sin to realize the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for us.

In verse 9, it focuses on confession and repentance. But the act of confessing is not necessarily why we are forgiven. We are forgiven because God loves us and because Christ died for us. He is faithful because he cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13). Because we are in Christ, God forgives us and purifies us! Confessing and repentance is more of being aware of how in need we are of Jesus.

So as the church, let us proclaim the good news in light of our weakness. For it is by grace we have been saved.

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
1 John 1:3

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Real

Be Still

Be still before the LORD, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling
Zechariah 2:13

I feel like these days my mind never stops running. I find myself thinking about a multitude of other things that I have to do when I’m already in the middle of doing something. The culture we live in is a culture of doing – where everything has to get done and everyone needs to go go go. Despite that though, we always talk about how we are so lazy – then we try to make up for that laziness by going 0-100 real quick. Thing is, no one can really go 0-100 real quick without getting the whole picture.

Someone once told me that Being still doesn’t necessarily mean “don’t move” or “freeze”, but rather it means to “stop striving” – to “slacken”, “let down” – to chill. In Zechariah 2, Zechariah is having a vision in which a man is measuring Jerusalem, to “find out how wide and how long it is” (Zechariah 2:2b). An angels comes and says that Jerusalem will be a city without walls. I feel like sometimes I’m so preoccupied with finding things out for myself (sometimes to the point of prying) that I forget that I don’t need to worry about everything. In reality, half the things that I think matter don’t actually matter that much. I just need to remember that God’s got my back and to really know that when I freak out about something or the like.

“Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming and I will live among you”, declares the LORD
Zechariah 2:10

Stop striving, and know that God’s will is going to happen. All you need to do is listen and obey. That’s what faith is – trusting that God’s Will will be done, even if you can’t see it in the moment.

Be still, and know that I am God
Psalm 46:10a

Be Still

Return

“Even now,” declares the LORD,
“return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
Joel 2:12-13

And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance,
as the LORD has said,
among the survivors whom the LORD calls.
Joel 2:32

So many times I feel like I am “doing enough” for God when I am serving. This is not the case. Like Paul says, I can do all these things, but if I do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or clanging symbol (1 Corinthians 13:1). Not just love, but with the love for God (and from God). I want to rend my heart to God, not just my garments and other parts of my life. If I give my heart, those other things will come naturally and not bitterly with distaste when I give them away (whether it be to God or others)

Let me remember that if I call on the name of the LORD, he is mighty to save (Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13). Not only that, but that he will not let me go though my emotions run high or my sin clouds my judgement. God let me call upon your name daily and be the only name that comes from my lips when people ask “who is worthy?”.

Return

Battle Gear

The more I grow in my faith walk and serve God, the more I become aware of how much sin is in my own life and how I can’t go through this battle fighting by myself. Spiritual warfare is no joke – the enemy tries to attack me every day through temptations, whispers of not being good enough, and anxiety about the future.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:13

I am continually reminded daily that I need Jesus. I am so thankful that God has provided us with his son to atone for our sins and our shortcomings and that even when we fall, we can pick ourselves up knowing that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). What encouraged me while reading Ephesians 6:13 was that even after I have done everything in MY power to stand, I will still be able to stand. This will not be from my own will or what I have done, but because I have the armor of God. I am victorious because God is victorious. I want to remind myself of this every time I am faced with sin or discouragement.

Battle Gear

Humble King

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
John 13:9

John 13:1-17 describes when Jesus washed his own disciples’ feet. Even though I have heard the story countless times and have heard of others doing the same (to their small groups, for sisters appreciation day, weddings, etc.) today the scene really struck me.

Jesus came down humbly to take on human form for our salvation. He walked on this earth and experienced all that we experienced, except that He did not sin. Pain, hunger, heat. All that stuff. And then He served His people. By washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus showed true humility by doing what servants did. And not only did He do this among other countless acts of humility, but Christ showed the greatest humility in His death on the cross.

I want to be like Peter, with a beggar mindset (shoutout to Passion 2014). I don’t want to be like the middle class person, thinking that I can work my way to Jesus. Instead, I want to be like a child or beggar: running to Christ with nothing and accepting what he has graciously given me.

Humble King

Jeremiah 34

Meep. Haven’t posted on here for a while.

Jeremiah 34
17-18 “Therefore, this is what the LORD says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom for your fellow countrymen. So I now proclaim ‘freedom’ for you, declares the LORD – ‘freedom’ to fall by the sword, plague and famine. I will make you abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth. The men who have violated my covenant and have not fulfilled the terms of the covenant they made before me, I will treat like the calf they cut in two and then walked between its pieces.

This passage is describing how the people of Judah made a covenant to proclaim freedom for the slaves (v8) but they changed their minds and took back those they had freed (v11)

God commanded those who take Hebrew slaves to release them after six years. In the seventh year, those Hebrews who owned other Hebrew slaves were to release them. (Deuteronomy 15:12) The people of Judah here are directly disobeying God after making the covenant with them. The verses above showed the penalty for disobeying God’s orders and the people were to be handed over to their enemies (v21)

I often do make promises to God and break them. As a child of God, I know that this is wrong, but I know that as a sinner, I can’t be perfect. I am thankful that Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for my sins and that I can come to God with my heart.

Lord, I know that I cannot be perfect. Please help me to make promises to You and I pray that You help me keep my promises. Allow me to come humbly to you knowing that because of grace You have given Christ for my sins. Let me look upon that cross and be thankful daily. Help me to make promises that I can hold to and when I can’t that I will repent and look back on the cross, where Christ took the punishment for what I couldn’t.
Jeremiah 34