Be Where You Are

Friend, the greatest advice I can give to you, is to be where you are. To be fully where you are. Right here. Right now. Maybe you don’t want to be right here and right now where you are at, but it’s no mistake that you are here. You are here because God has you here. Whether it be in the valleys, or the mountain tops, or even the in between nooks in the mountain slope, this place where you are has purpose. It has purpose because God is very intentional in all of his planning for His children. It’s purposeful for God wastes nothing in our lives. The place where you are at, you maybe thought you’d never be here. You may have thought that by this time in your life that you’d be farther down the road, kicked that bad habit, conquered that demon, gotten that promotion. It doesn’t mean your a failure because you haven’t yet, it just means it’s not God’s time yet. There is more for you to learn here, where you are. There is more to learn about yourself and Him where you are. There are people where you are. People that need Jesus. People that you may have no clue how to even relate to, but God brought you here, to be an encouragement, to show compassion, to spread the gospel to those who are living in the darkness. You may want to minister to another group of people, but God has you here. He has you here for a time such as this. He has equipped you to be here. Wherever it is that you are. He has provided what you need here. So be here. Where you are. He has placed people to encourage you where you are. Maybe there are only one or two of them, but they are still there. Encouraging. Cheering on. Helping you to be where you are at with God. The most important thing is that God is here with you, where you are. He has not left you alone to your struggles, to your disappointments, to your frustrations. He sees them, and He knows them, but He has you here for your good. So be here. Be content here. Wherever you are, have joy. Be patient. Look for opportunities. You may not like everything about where you are, but you can still be thankful that God has you where you are. So be. Be where you are. For where you are is where you are supposed to be. Let God move in and through you, where you are. Meet with God where you are. In the doubts. The confusions. The chaos. Talk with him. Talk with others. And don’t whine. As a wise man once said to me, “Great things never come easy.”

Shout-out to my Gamecocks and Shi Smith! Took this picture at the Carolina Spring Game.

Blessings.

Hoping In What Is Not Seen

Hope. What is hope? It’s a belief that good will come. That rescue will occur. That things will get better. Hope keeps us going. Without hope, we have nothing. We have nothing to hold onto. Cling to. Live for. If we have no hope that one day things will get better, that things will change, what’s the point? What’s the point of the Christian life if we have no hope? Hope in Jesus is what keeps us going. We are hoping in the unseen. And this hope keeps us afloat.

Life is a struggle. Some days (most days) I find it hard to get out of bed. I’m exhausted. I’m weary. My anxieties race through my mind as soon as my feet hit the floor. It’s a battle.

Even in the midst of my sins though, in the midst of my weariness, and exhaustion, and pain, I have hope. I have hope that one day things will get better.

Some days this is very evident. Others it’s just a blip on the radar, but that hope continues. It continues because my hope is not in myself because I know that I am weak and unable. My hope is not in my future, in my job, in my skills, or my abilities, even though constantly I am tempted to put my hope in external limited things.

No, when it comes down to it, my hope is in Jesus. The one I can’t see. The one I pray prayers to and wonder if He is listening. My hope is in the one I worship, but fail to obey consistently. My hope is in Jesus.

I hope imperfectly but I still have hope. I have hope that one day, if I continue to hold onto Jesus, that things will get better. I have hope that even when I struggle to hold onto Him, that He has a got a hold of me. I have hope that all of the things in my life that Jesus is using for good. Even as I write that sentence right there, I have doubts in my flesh and my mind. It’s true though. All the things that are occurring right now in yours and my life, they are for our good. Even our own mess-ups and failures, God is using those to remind us how good we are on our own, which is not very good.

Paul writes in Romans 8:18-25:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 2But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

I don’t know about you but this verse is difficult for me. I don’t know how Paul can say that the sufferings of this time are not worth comparing to what is coming. Because I feel them daily. I feel and experience these sufferings daily. I see my own sinfulness and my own hypocrisy and it literally cuts to my core. How Paul? How can you say that what we face now is not even worth comparing to what is coming? How??

Because he had hope in the fullness of the story of the gospel. That even though us and this world have been subjected to sin, and we groan all together inwardly, we have hope. We have hope because Jesus came to earth, and lived the sinless life, and died a perfect death, to atone for yours and my sins, both now and forever. Therefore, we have been given access once more to a relationship with God our Father, and we have been adopted.

Yes, we still live in this sinful world, and have sinful bodies, but God is renewing us. We have the first fruits. We have been given a taste of what is to come, and it is magnificent.

THIS. THIS is the hope in which we were saved. That one day all creation, us included, will be fully set free from these sinful bodies that nag and pull us towards sin now. We will be fully adopted as sons and daughters of Christ. This is what we wait for. This is what we hope in.

The struggle will not define us forever. This earth is just the beginning. Eternal life. Whole life awaits us.

So what do we do in the already, but not yet time period that we find ourselves in?

We wait for it with patience. We sit on the edge of our seats, eagerly longing for the day in which all will be made right. We live our lives now in the hope that the struggle that we find ourselves waking up with today, will not be the struggle that defines us forever. That and all struggles are coming to an end.

It’s hard to believe but they are. So as you look at yourself today, think about the hope that can’t see, but that you have. The hope that Jesus is changing and renewing your heart and mind constantly. And that this earth is only the beginning of your story.

Yours and my stories are so much bigger than our weariness. Our guilt. Our shames. Our failures. Our losses. Our disappointments. Our stories, if we know Christ, are those of hope. That one day, all things will be made new. Including us.

I will continue to hope. Hope in what I do not see, yet believe. Hope in the good, and the restoration that is coming. Hope in Jesus who has saved me. Even if I have to crawl towards hope, on my bloodied hands and knees every day, I will keep eagerly awaiting the day when I will cry no more tears. When I feel no more pain. When my body will not ache or be weary. When I will no longer have rampant unwanted thoughts or anxieties running through my mind. I eagerly await the day when I will collapse exhausted before the throne of Christ, giving all I had on the earth, and entering into the fullness of Jesus’s presence forever, as an adopted son of God.

Photo taken from: https://chrisguillebeau.com/tag/backpacking/

Blessings.

Consider Him

Life is difficult. Life is tiring. Life can become weary at times. Doing good, day after day. Being responsible day after day. You just get tired of it. You get tired of the fight. You get tired of holding on. You just want to give into all that is around you. In these times though that we have nothing, when we are at our lowest, when we are scraping the bottom, when we feel alone, abandoned, disappointed and hurt, there is hope. We must consider Jesus. This is the hope of Good Friday. That Jesus endured the suffering of men, and the wrath of God for our sins, so that we might live and be forgiven. So that we might endure to the end.

Easter always seems to be a difficult time for me spiritually. No matter what year, it always seems like I battle the most against my flesh around this time. This year hasn’t been much different.

It’s been a difficult week. I’ve been tired. Sick. Just feeling bombarded with anything and everything. I have felt weary. Weary of doing good. Weary of being good. Weary of living for Christ, and battling my flesh. Just weary all around.

In the middle of my weariness yesterday, I opened up my email, and I had a daily devotional from Desiring God. It hit me right where I was.

The devotion read:

Perhaps, as this Good Friday comes again, you have more reason than ever to be weary. Sin feels more tempting than ever, recent hardships leave you gasping for air, a loved one is beholding the scarred hands of the Savior this year face-to-face. Such is a time to “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted” (Hebrews 12:3). How do we not grow weary? We consider his suffering

In his latest article, Marshall Segal invites us to do just that Consider him whom “murderers stalked before he could walk.” Consider him whose “shoulders bore sin he never knew.” And consider him who, “with pierced hands and collapsing lungs, gripped Psalm 22.” Consider him, that you might not grow weary or fainthearted.

And as we consider how Jesus endured the greatest suffering anyone will ever know, consider also how he prayed. We will not persevere in our trials without prayer. Jesus knew this, and prayed loud prayers in the garden, several prayers in the garden, the greatest prayer in the garden as angels attended to him and his Father answered him.

Greg Morse
Staff writer

Reading this was such a good reminder that I wasn’t alone here in the weariness. That Jesus had faced the ultimate weariness. The ultimate abandonedness. The ultimate humiliation. The ultimate pain. The ultimate sacrifice.

He didn’t want to go through with this so much, that he sweat drops of blood. In his faithfulness though, in His love for us, He endured. Not His will, but His Father’s would be done. He was faithful. To the end. So that we might live.

It’s because of his perfect life, and perfect sacrifice, and faithful endurance, and atoning for our sins, that we can endure as well.

Considering Him who endured all for us helps me to put perspective on my life, and on my struggles. Yes, I struggle, but as Hebrews 12:4 says “you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”

He was just as human as I am. He was just as tired. Just as weary. Just as tempted. Just as bombarded. Just as abandoned. Yet, he was sinless. He was perfect. He endured.

This Good Friday, I urge you to Consider Him. Consider the crown of thorns that lodged into his scalp, the mocking he faced, the people who spit upon him, and gambled over his clothes, the soldier’s spear that pierced his side, the loss he endured, the nails that pierced his hands, the disciples who denied him and ran. Consider that He endured all this, for us. For you. For me. To cleanse us. To heal us. To make us whole.

He was innocent. He did no wrong, but like a sheep lead to the slaughter, He took it all. He took all the injustice, the hate, the sins, of the entire world, the wrath of God, and He bore those on the cross in a public mocking spectacle. Consider Him who loved you so much that He put Himself in the way of God’s wrath to save you from it. Consider Him.

Wherever we are at this Easter, may we consider Jesus. Whether in our joy, or our weariness. Our hope, or disappointments. Our strength, and weakness. May we look to the cross to be reminded of the one who endured all things so that we may live and endure as well.

May we not grow weary or fainthearted in our own lives, but may the example and sacrifice of Jesus push us forward to continue to live Christ centered lives. May we love well, serve others, die to ourselves, and may Christ’s Kingdom come on earth as it is heaven. May we consider Him daily, that daily we may not lose heart.

Picture taken from: http://www.thetruthofjudgmentday.com/the-power-of-the-cross/

Blessings.