3 Truths for the Christian Blogger & what I have learned.

Over the past year, I’ve had to take a break from blogging, mostly because the well of inspiration (to write) had dried up. Probably for a good reason to as this season helped me think about why I wanted to share my thoughts in the first place. That can be a scary idea, y’all. 

When I first started blogging a few years ago, I wanted whatever I posted to always reflect Jesus no matter what. This is a great goal for the Christian blogger; but, it was easier said than done at the time. The whole concept had yet to plunge deep into my heart as I had hoped it would. As a result, the ideas I had for this blog lacked a single direction I had to step away from blogging for a season.

God has a way of humbling us to bring glory to Him. Click To Tweet

This realization made me question why I started blogging in the first place.

P.S. If you aren’t a blogger, let these truths speak to you. They can be applied in whatever in you do. ❤︎

When your heart’s not in it to win it (for Jesus).

When you ask yourself the question “Why do I want to start a blog?”, make a list and reflect on these reasons. These reasons could be the deciding factor for your blog to flourish.

James 4, especially verses 7 through 10, has a special place in my heart and sometimes I take this truth for granted. This chapter lists five steps we should live out on a daily basis:

  • Submit to God.
  • Resist the devil (and he will flee).
  • Draw near to God.
  • Cleanse and purify yourself before God. (Where does your loyalty lie: God or the world?).
  • Humble yourself before God (and He will lift you up).
    • I love how the Message version states to “quit playing the field”, “the fun and games [of the world] are over”, and to “get down on your knees before the Master. It’s the only way you’ll get on your feet” (James 4:7-10, MSG).

One idea I will be practicing in my writing is using it to be more reflective with my everyday thoughts and seeking Biblical truths about them.

Seek God for direction.

In a young adults’ Bible study I attend, we are currently studying the life of David and his establishment as king of Israel. David was patient for his time to come. He could have asserted himself on the throne sooner than God intended.

David was “a man after God’s own heart” and his relationship with God was pretty sweet, even when he messed up. He was in constant communication with God and was able to accept the consequences, bring his shortcomings to God, and reconcile the relationship. All was sweet again – until the next time. How much more is God faithful to forgive us as he did with David?

Communication is the key to any successful relationship. It is important to communicate with our Lord and Savior often however you are called to do it. A few examples: praise, prayer, and in the Word.

Don’t let others’ thoughts influence your opinions.

This was a huge concept for me to grasp over the past few years. I have struggled with caring about others’ potential thoughts about what I shared. (Potential. Not yet said.) Sometimes, I would compare my writing to others’, and would think less of myself. Other writers seemed to put the words together more eloquently than I ever could. What a crazy thought. As a result, this attitude has kept me from finishing, and even posting, something near to my heart at the time.

Change your attitude to live out that of Psalm 37:4-6.

  • Take delight in the Lord (and He will give you what your heart desires).
  • Commit everything you do to the Lord.
  • Trust the Lord.
  • He will validate your life with His stamp of approval.Only God can validate your life with His stamp of approval. Click To Tweet
    • Meaning: Only God can have a say in your life. Others’ opinion don’t matter – except, of course, when God is using them to speak to you. Be discerning in this area.

So if God is calling you to write: Remember these points, add to them as need, and write to your hearts content. ❤︎

3 Truths about Love

First off, I just want to wish y’all a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Regardless of your relationship status, know that you are loved no matter what. Especially by the one who loved you first.

Love is from God.

“We love because he first loved us.”
1 John 4:19 (ESV)

Often times we associate love with giving or receiving something tangible. Maybe it’s those butterflies in your stomach. Or maybe it’s just air moving through your digestive system. But I digress.

The origin of love comes from God himself. He knew us before anyone else (as Psalm 139 show us).

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mothers womb. verse 13

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none. verse 15-16

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! verse 17

God’s ultimate love displayed.

The most precious gift of love we will ever receive is God’s ultimate sacrifice — his Son, who died in our place so that we could live with Him forever.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:9

Love is perfected.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11

Furthermore, in first John 4 verse 12, when we love others, God’s love is also perfected in us.

As a result, when we love others, God’s glory is revealed through us—even in the less extravagant of moments.

When you love and care about someone, you want to learn how to speak love into their lives and follow through with it.

But, the question arise in my heart: How do I show love to those I do not know?

Personally, I would want to spend time getting to know that person. My primary love language is time and touch—and yes, it’s a tie. (To find your “love language”, you can take a test here). Keep in mind: Everyone brings a unique language to the table.

Living in the Joy of Surrender

The moment you surrender your life and plans to the Lord, you may start to ask “what’s next?” or “where should I go?”. You want to share this faith with others. You keep trying to listen for a physical place on the map—months turn into years and still, there’s nothing on the radar.

But, have you ever thought to yourself that God wants to use you right where you are?

As you read this post, let these lyrics speak to your heart:

God You don’t need me, but somehow You want me.
Oh, how You love me.
Somehow that frees me to open my hands up and give You control.
Control by Tenth Avenue North

He still wants us to share the truth about who He is to everyone—wherever we are. Click To Tweet

Personally, the idea of relocating to another city to have some impact on the people there is intriguing; however, I don’t want to go somewhere based on my desires alone. I want to be sensitive to where the Lord wants me. The idea may seem effortless to talk or think about giving up control and surrendering any plan in your current life. However, the execution phase doesn’t come so easily. Lately, I’ve been learning how to bloom (or be a light) where I am currently planted. Sometimes it feels like a never-ending process.

So, true story: I was curious and decided to research a few benefits that surrendering your life to God could bring; and the first result to appear on the page led me to and exercise move actually called “Surrender”. No joke. Some of the benefits from doing this exercise include tightening your core and strengthen your legs.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking “what in the world?” or “how random, Lauren”. But trust me, I have a point to make.

Just like exercise, building and strengthening your relationship with God takes a bit of training. It takes discipline and endurance.

Whatever our current situation may be, God still wants to use us. Click To Tweet

So, how are we strengthening our relationship with Him so others can see God’s glory NOW?

Get to know Jesus Christ personally. We should seek to learn more about His character and portray His same attitude others can see Him in us.

12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. 14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.

Philippians 2:14-15 (NLT)

Know the truth. Hide it in your heart (and hold onto it). 

I have hidden your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.

Psalm 119:11 (NLT)


16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.

Philippians 2:16 (NLT)

Pray for others continually. So that everyone in Christ “[bears] fruit in every good work and [increases] in the knowledge of God; [that] they are being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. Also “pray that [they] will be strengthened with all his glorious power so [they] will have all the endurance and patience [they] need … filled with joy [and] always thanking the Father. He has enabled [us] to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.

Colossians 1:9-12 (NLT, paraphrased).

Where and how is God wanting you to live in this joy today?


A beautiful reminder I heard in a Bible Study lecture last night:

We are saved to serve. Keep your eyes open. Let love motivate you. ❤ Click To Tweet


PHOTO CREDIT

How to Trust God With Your Plans: Part 3

The idea of trust has always been near to my heart — it’s even on my Bible cover as a reminder to do so.

I always find peace going back to one of my favorite verses: Proverbs 3:5-6. Through it, I am reminded to trust in the Lord’s timing and plans — not my own. God knows the “desires of my heart” and I believe He still cares about them; but such things may not be what I need at a particular time in my life. Maybe you feel the same way. Truth is, we all still have a little bit of growing to do.

Totally depend on & constantly seek Him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

‭ — Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭(NLT‬‬)

 

Man, easier said than done! Am I right?? Proverbs 3:5 through 6 is one of my favorite go-to verses when I need a little boost through this journey called life.

I took a little time to look deeper into the word “understanding” and found the word bÎynah (bee-naw) in the Hebrew-Greek dictionary. When this word is used as a noun, the words comprehension and discernment are tagged to it, along with this explanation:

God has graciously endowed human beings with the ability of understand and comprehension; but this faculty is not [absolutely trustworthy or sure], and therefore, we are to ask God for guidance at all times.

 

[Furthermore], our own ability should function to give us discernment; like how to have a proper attitude toward seeking the riches of the world.

 

Honor God in everything you do.

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him, and he will act.

— Psalm 37:3-5 (ESV)

 

To do “good” in verse is similar to being fruitful; appealing or pleasant to the senses; morally correct and opposed to evil. When I think of this, the five senses come to mind, starting with the eyes (in what we see), the ears (in what we hear), the mouth (in what we say), the hands (in what we touch or do), and the nose … well, okay, I don’t know how to tie that in … maybe smell pleasant smells? Hmm, go enjoy nature & what God has created? – okay, there we go!

Commit your plans to God.

In other words, trust God and he will act. The only disclaimer I have is that it might not be according to our time frame. The Lord knows our hearts desires and cares about them, but He also knows what we need to grow and mature in our faith. As I say this, the story of Abraham comes to mind — maybe because we also talked about him last night at BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). God remained faithful to His promises when Abraham’s faith wavered; but Abraham never stopped growing in his faith. One of the take-away principles was this — that “righteousness, [or being made right], comes by having faith in who God is and not in our own abilities and rituals”. When we commit our own plans to God, we are trusting Him to provide. The results might not be instantaneous, but by putting our faith in God, we are made righteous.

Righteousness comes by having faith in who God is and not in our own abilities and rituals. Click To Tweet

What are areas you’re needing to trust God with today? What quotes, songs, or verses help you through such times?

Got an encouraging story? I would love to hear it!

 

Soli Deo Gloria,

Lauren ❤︎

Walking in Confidence: Part 2

 

How do you go about walking with confidence in your daily life? 

As I prepare to head back to work after a (much needed) stay-cation, I’ve been reflecting and searching God’s truth about living out my life in bold confidence for Him. Personally, it can be a bit difficult in a hospital setting (or anywhere in general), where you have to be mindful about sharing your faith with others (co-workers, patients, etc.). This series, so far, has been a great project for that and I look forward to sharing these concepts with you.

Be humble in the present.

In Corinthians 10 verse 1, Paul comes before the church of Corinth in gentleness and is observant of people’s reactions to him being “timid in person” yet bold in his writings (verse 2).

We don't have to show boldness according the the world's standards, but by God's standards. Click To Tweet

Instead, he goes onto explain how we, as Christians, should rely on the weapons God makes available to us — prayer, faith, hope, love, scripture, and the Holy Spirit. This is in addition to putting on the armor of God daily and being alert at all times (Ephesians 6:10-20). Personally, I also love how, in verse 19 and 20, Paul asks that the words “may be given to [him] in opening [his] mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel”. In the past situations, I have found myself wanting to say something, but lacking the confidence to say it; and often enough, it’s due to the fear of how it comes out of my mouth and received by others. Not necessarily in sharing my faith either, but my thoughts in general.

Remain bold in spirit and take every thought captive in Christ.

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ...” — ‭‭(2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:5‬, ESV‬‬)

 

With this verse, the word “thought” comes from the Hebrew-Greek word noēma and stems from the noun noéo, meaning “to perceive. A thought. That which is thought out, planned, devised, in a negative sense“. Satan will try (that’s the keyword) to fill our minds with negative thoughts to keep us quiet; however, it is important to know how to combat this negativity with God’s truth and “teach them to obey Christ”. What we do with these thoughts is our choice. How will I (you) respond? A good way to do this is through prayer and asking the the Lord to give you a discerning spirit to keep your mind focus on God’s truth. Tip: Knowing and repeating scripture out loud helps.

Fear of the Lord.

I am not talking about the kind that causes you to be anxious and break into a cold sweat; but the kind leading to “reverential awe (and respect) toward God”.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” — (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭1:7‬, ESV, underlining added).

 

The Hebrew word used for fear is yir’âh, meaning moral reverence; (exceedingly) awesome; (to be) feared. This kind of fear is viewed as a positive quality as it acknowledges God’s good intentions for our lives and is produced by God’s Word as we seek after Him daily. It, then, gives us the confidence we need to live a life like Christ and with a boldness to share the Good News of the Gospel. The results of this fear help to produce a good life — full of humility, riches, and honor.

Remain sincere in heart.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” — 1 Samuel‬ ‭16:7‬ ‭(NLT)

 

To others, David did not look much like a king as he, a shepherd boy, tended to his family’s flock; but God saw much more inside. He saw his heart and a potential that would help him be the king Israel needed. Don’t brag about what you do outwardly; but do not be ashamed of the authority God has given you. 

According to 2 Corinthians 9 verse 13:As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity (submission in the ESV) to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ” (parentheses added). When people see us serving with a humble heart, they will see God’s glory through us. Our submission will prove our obedience to sharing the Good News with others.

Do not be ashamed of the authority God has given you. Click To Tweet

One of my favorite verses is found in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 and reads, “But [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” ‭‭(2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9-10‬, ESV‬)

God's power is made perfect in your weakness. Click To Tweet

Soli Deo Gloria,

Lauren ❤︎

Also, if you haven’t already, feel free to check out part one of this series here.

Living Boldly in Christ: Part 1

What does it mean to live a life of boldness?

Most of my life, I’ve been quite comfortable as a flower on the wall … with very rare moments of living boldly. The question was put on my heart lately — have I truly sat down and read the the Word has to say about living boldly? Barely … maybe a verse here and there. No, this doesn’t mean I’ll be going skydiving any time soon. Don’t let me stop you though. Through this post (or possible series), I hope to not only grow myself, but to help others along the way.

Be brave & bold – not chicken-hearted.

These are the wise words of a beloved grandfather; found in a family cookbook, presented in 1998; and in reference to trying out a new recipe or adding your own flare to a dish. Probably one of the few bold things I’ve done, but this quote can also be applied to life in general. I don’t know about you, but I don’t wish to have the heart of a chicken beating inside me (bok-bok, bok-bok, bok-bok …).

God chose us and is for us.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” — Romans 8:31-33 (ESV)

Let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start) …

  • We were chosen by God before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4), “predestined for adoption as sons [(and daughters)]” (verse 5).
  • God also sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for all and extended this gift to all.
  • We then have a responsibility to accept or reject this gift. It is our choice.

We were chosen by God before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). Click To Tweet_

Know these truths and hide them in your heart.

I love how the New Living Translation reads for verse 33.

“Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one — for God himself has given us right standing with himself.” — Romans 8:33 (NLT)

This is an excellent reminder as I (and we) chose to live boldly for Christ every day — at work, at school, at the grocery store, at the mall … everywhere in our community. Often times, I feel like my character generally shows this mindset (with a few bad days in between — no one’s perfect); however, when someone approaches me and ask “how?” or “why?”, I want to be able to explain this with audacity of who Jesus is to me. It is important to know the facts that I am chosen by God before my time, offered the gift of eternal through Jesus’ death, and that I have chosen to accept said gift; however, it is also important to hide these words in your heart so you can be reminded who you are in Christ when you stand up for your faith.

What about you? Where do you stand on these truths? Take a moment to reflect and just remember:

  • You are chosen by God.
  • Jesus died so that we can be with God forever.
  • It is your choice to accept or reject these truths.

 

Soli Deo Gloria,

Lauren ❤︎