Is there anyone beyond redemption? Is anything too hard for our God?
Is there anyone beyond redemption? Is anything too hard for our God?
You're standing at the edge of the river. You are so close to being united with our Father but your feet won't seem to move. You are tired from carrying your sin on your shoulders. You are exhausted from running faster than your heart can follow.
A lot of us struggle with trusting what we cannot see. A lot of us struggle with giving our lives to be a follower of Jesus. We stand on the edge of the river and desire with our hearts to go and be washed; yet it feels like our feet are cinder blocks. The thing is we are called to come. We are called to submerge ourselves in the water of life. And all we have to do is take a single step.
Still, fear lingers. Fear dominates us. We are afraid of what being a follower of Jesus might look like. How big of a dent it might make on our social life or the sacrifices that we might have to make. We might have to exchange the comfort of our homes for a straw mat in India or give up steak for foods we are afraid of.
We might actually have to pick up our crosses too.
Somewhere along the way we started believing that those things are bad things. That those things are too hard for us, that they’re heavy and would be burdensome. I’m here to tell you that the weight is not heavy. I want you to know that by taking that step of faith your burdens will be lifted. You will no longer be alone and you will suddenly have a Savior. A very real Savior. Sin will no longer be shackles around your ankles and darkness will no longer swallow you up.
It is worth putting one foot in front of the other and going deeper and deeper into the water with our Lord. It is worth feeling the bottom of the Jordan between your toes.
Sure with each step you give a little bit more of yourself away, but Jesus promises that with each step we gain more than we lose. We gain eternity with Him. We gain the best friend that we’ve ever had. We gain redemption. We gain joy. We gain peace.
So, step into the river. Close your eyes and trust the water to wash your blood stained life. Trust the man who stands on the river’s edge. His name is Jesus. Don’t worry if you’ll be able to find Him in the crowd. He’s the one waiting with His arms held out towards you. Front and center. With the biggest smile you’ve ever seen.
He whispers, “Go and tell the world what you’ve seen”.
And as you feel the warmth of his breath on your neck you’ll feel life sinking into your bones for the very first time.
Do you ever look around attempting to see God? It can be anywhere. Any place that you love and anything you consider to be beautiful. If you are like me then that place would be nature. That is where I personally more often than not stop and think, “Wow, God is a creative God”. When I am outside I feel Him around me and I can spend time with Him. I love to be outside. To read outside, to sit outside, to pray outside. Because that is where I find Him, where I see Him.
When I think of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen I almost instantly think of things like: Mountains, oceans, trees, and flowers. I think of the big mountains that I saw in India and the beautiful forest that I walked through daily in Australia. I think of the wildflowers that come every year and the water of Frasier Island. I think of the muddy waters of Chocolate Bayou and my mother’s flowers.
I bet that you can think of things that stir your heart too.
I stand in amazement of God’s creation all the time and wonder how anything could be so marvelous. I am inspired by the hugeness of this earth that we walk upon. I wonder all the time how creative and how beautiful of a mind our God has to have when I’m taking into consideration the variety of flowers and plants that He has crafted. The texture, the colors, the height, the thorns, the uses and the aromas that tickle our noses.
God looks at us and says that you and I are His greatest handiwork. He says that we are more beautiful. The things that blow my mind are behind you and I in his book of beauty. They are less than us.
The Word tells us that: “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven”-1 Corinthians 15:49
Here’s the wild truth that pulls my heart strings: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” –Genesis 1:27
We bear the image of Jesus! You were made in His likeness. Can you believe it?! The Lord of Lords declares that we are the most beautiful of all of his creations. After Genesis 1 verse 27 it goes on to say that after God saw what He had created He called it very good. Not just “good” but “very good”.
If you’re looking for God today you don’t have to look far. Look at your neighbor who is made in the image of our Savior and just take it in. Look in the mirror and feel the butterflies.
His fingerprints are all over us.
We are the evidence.
Have you ever felt that nobody understands you? Not in any one specific way but in every way. They don’t understand the big things and they don’t understand the little things. It’s a tough place to be. It’s a lonely place to be. You make a big life decision (like not going to college) and they don’t understand why you made such an offbeat choice. Leaving you in a place where you don’t even want to try to explain because you don’t need to.
Jesus was a highly misunderstood man. I would venture as far to say that Jesus was the most misunderstand man that ever walked the face of this earth. That is wild. Herod didn’t understand. Pilate didn’t understand. Nobody did except for the few that listened to the sweet sweet sound of his voice. Except for the ones who stopped to look in Jesus’ eyes, if even for a split second, to find that He was and is God.
He tried and tried and walked around, on foot, to tell people who He was and about the one who sent Him. He was gentle, He was honest, He was raw. He went on in this manner until the crucifixion came around and was nailed on that tree for our sins.
Jesus Christ, the one true God, came down into the world so that He himself might understand us better. He become fully man and went to be tempted in the desert for forty days, so that He might understand us better. He walked the way that we do, ate the way that we do, laughed, cried, had friends, slept the way we do, and He even had to go to the bathroom. Fully man. On top of all of this, He made us.
That’s the God that we serve. Do you think there is anybody who can understand us better?
He knows everything about us. He knows our temptations, our limits, our joy and our struggles. He knows our heart. He knows our soul. He knows our Spirit.
While in pursuit of saving our souls there is one more thing that we cannot ignore: He came to understand and to know us intimately. He can fully sympathize with us right where we are today. He understands. He came to live among us. He didn't have to do that. The amazing thing is that he wanted to.
Now that’s an epic love story.
God. A big big God. Can’t fully get my head around it, can’t really grasp it. But I like it.
Our Father is BIG. He is bigger than big. He is a huge God that does BIG things. So why do we ask and expect for the little things? As if he is limited? As if He is bound. I am not bound by my major. I am not bound by my appearance or the things that I have. I am not bound by my body and I am not bound by my thoughts. I am not bound by my emotions and I am not bound by my struggles. Most of all, I am not bound by my abilities. I am bound by nothing because of my God. He has no bounds.
I’ve been thinking lately about dreams. It’s always been a big thing that rides my heart but it’s been strong lately. I have dreams. Wild dreams that most people seem to tell me are impossible. I’m here to tell you that your dreams are possible. They are. Sit in the Word and the presence of Jesus and you’ll see. He will tell you the same.
What are your dreams? What are the things that you would do to further the kingdom and to tell people and show people God’s love if you could? What if time, age, money, education, and peoples opinions didn’t exist? What would you do?
What are the crazy wild things that God has put in your heart? I mean, the dreams of dreams. I know that they seem so big and nearly impossible but the greatest reality is that they’re not. God gives us dreams and He gives us passions that are massive. The wild depths of your heart are most likely the things that you were created for.
Abandon what the world tells you that you should do and do what your heart tells you to do. Do what God tells you to do. Gosh, and you will be so joyful. The joy of the Lord will be with you and it doesn’t get much better than that.
If you ever take anything from the things that I write, know this: Where we end, God begins. He takes us the rest of the way. It doesn’t rest upon your ability.
Dream your dreams. Don’t be afraid. Go for it and don’t let the fear of failure stop you. Be reckless.
Take that step and be liberated. Run.
I know I am.
One more thing. Expect big things because they’re comin your way.
Last week I wrote about the calling upon our lives to love one another and to love hard. If you’re anything like me, loving all the time can seem exhausting and well…umm…maybe fake? Come on, we can’t be sweet all of the time! And surely it’s impossible to do it perfectly twenty-four seven.
God has been showing me that love can look very different than what the world tells me love is. He’s been showing me that love can look like anguish. After all, the greatest love that we have ever known died on the cross, right? That’s solid truth. The problem is it’s the opposite of what most of us picture love to be. He’s been showing me that loving someone can mean biting my tongue. To keep to myself if it’s not uplifting. The act of not speaking my initial feelings can be loving my brother and sister well. He has showed me that enduring is love. And the list goes on and on.
The bible defines love as this:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. -1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Loving someone well looks different every second of every day. It means that there are numerous ways to love someone instead of the exhaustive image that most of us have been fed by the world.
Most of all, to love someone well is to mirror Jesus to them. To live showing others his character. The Word tells us God is love. Go ahead and replace the word “love” in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 with “God” and see how it moves your heart. Then you will be better able to grasp God’s character, which in turn, will grant you the grace to love others the way that He loves us.
That is loving hard.
Every day we were out at the festival listening to good music and having a blast. Tyler’s family was nice enough to let us stay with them at their awesome house and to add to it, Tyler’s mom made us such good food. Breakfast and dinner every day. The Kelly family really blessed us. It was fun getting to know the ropes around Lafayette via Tyler and, of course, trying new things. This weekend was packed with a couple of “firsts” for me. It was my first time to eat crawfish, to eat shrimp, to be in Louisiana, to go to a music festival, and to hang with these great people. We went as strangers but left as friends.
Here’s some pictures of the weekend!
From left to right: Barrett Martin Yeager, Blake Richard Mankin,
Tyler David Kelly, Tim Boaz Reeder, Kelsey Lauren Tilley, Alisson Kay Alexander