Category Archives: God is Greater

Going outside!

Confession: I skipped class today…

“What? You did what, Sissy?”  My mom is probably asking this question in her head and THEN wondering why in the world I would write about it.  (Hi Mom!  I love you ;) )  But here’s why…

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature, and God.  Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature.”

Anne Frank was the wise, young woman that wrote these words, and this is basically what she’s saying.  Whenever we get so consumed with our own problems/fears/worries, the best thing for us is to go to the place where we feel closet to God: nature.

While I am not suggesting that we skip work or class or a meeting whenever we feel stressed, today, I didn’t go to class in order to spend this time to remember that God is my first priority, not grades.  It’s because of Him that I am able to go to class and even make grades.  I had forgotten this.

So do whatever it takes for you to remember who it is that you are living for and from.  Don’t be irresponsible–I’m not giving you a “Get out of jail” free card like in the game monopoly–but I am encouraging you to find your strength in Christ and be empowered by that strength to do all that He has given you to do.

“In return and in rest, you shall be saved.

In quiet and in trust shall be your strength.”

Isaiah 30:15

Take time to rest in beauty of God… Take time to appreciate Him for all that He is in our lives.  See and BELIEVE that He is the reason for every occurrence/occasion in your life.

Go outside and rest in God!

“A Man Fell Into a Hole”

Do ever wonder what makes Christianity different from other religions?

We have Jesus Christ!

This video, “A Man Fell Into a Hole,” shows the best comparison/contrast of the different religions that I have ever seen, and I hope that you will watch it!  It’s short, so what do you have to lose?

Thanks again, Spencer, for showing me this video!

The Coach’s View on the Soccer Field of Life

Do you ever wonder how God looks at us as His children?  If life was a soccer match and God was the coach, to whom would God give high fives or shake His head because of a bad play or yell out shouts of encouragement? 

Recently, this question has been on my mind.  While we can never know the motives of God, there are a couple of verses that have given me some thoughts on how God looks upon us.  

“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7

Right off the bat, we see that God sees differently than we do.  Why is that?  It’s because on earth, our outer appearance is how we usually convey our worldly state–whether we are happy, successful, wealthy, etc.  But here’s the thing, God’s kingdom is much different than our world.  While the criteria for who’s the best here in the world may be based on status, God’s kingdom sees right through all of this. 

“27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-31

You see, it’s all about our heart condition.  When we encounter God, does the life that we live from there out give all the glory to Him? 

Just as a great coach, God sees that while skill is needed for His team–after all, He gave us every skill that we have–it’s the condition of your heart that determines how you will work in His body of believers.  Will your life of being the most improved–from a destitute sinner to a believer washed in God’s grace and love–be even more important than being the team member that scores the most goals?

God loves each and every single one of us–bench warmer or team captain alike.  So the real question for you today is this: by your heart condition, are you ready to glorify God?

Seeking Christ

Are you a people pleaser?

I don’t know about you, but I sure am!  Big time, actually.  Pleasing others has always been something I’ve done because it makes me feel better about myself and more loved.

Did you know that the Bible speaks of this specifically?  I had no idea that it did, but one day I was reading in the first chapter of Galatians, and I found this verse.  Here’s what Paul writes in verse 10.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or God?

Or, am I trying to please man?

If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Galatians 1:10

You know how people sometimes cough in their throat whenever they want you to pay attention?  When I read this verse, I felt like Someone must have been tapping on my shoulder and saying, “Cough, Cough, Sarah, Cough!”

Is Someone tapping on your shoulder too?  What is He trying to teach you about how you live your day-to-day life through this verse?

Are you seeking for approval from others?  Maybe it’s time for all of us to realize that we have all the security of self we could ever need.  All we have to do is seek Christ instead of seeking after our peers.

Buddy the Elf and Being Someone’s Faith

One of my favorite movies is Elf with Will Ferrell.  There’s a scene where Buddy follows his dad, “Papa Elf” into the workshop for Santa’s sleigh.  In this scene, Papa Elf tells Buddy that Santa’s sleigh runs with the help of a turbo engine.  “But Dad,” Buddy begins to ask, “I thought Santa’s sleigh was powered by Christmas cheer?”  And that’s when he saw it.  The “Claus-ometer” was running on zero.  Faith in Christmas was at an all-time low, and it was their job to figure out how to make the sleigh fly.

They tried securing another engine to the sleigh, but it fell off in mid-flight on Christmas Eve.  The sleigh was merely flying on fumes of Christmas spirit.  There was only way to get the sleigh to fly: to help others have faith in Christmas once more.

Do you ever feel like you are running off of fumes of your faith?  Sometimes we find ourselves in a place where it seems impossible to have faith.  A bad thing may happen to you or a person that you know, and faith feels just outside of our grasp.

One of my best friends and I were talking about this last night, and he told me something that I will never forget.  “Sometimes,” he told me, “we have to be someone else’s faith for them.

Having faith is so much more than just believing in God and that Jesus died and rose again.  Having faith is remaining in the sincere confidence that God is faithful, too.  We stray; we lose our faith; we feel as though we have nothing left to give or receive, but God is also there.  He is faithful.

Faith in God is what rejuvenates us.  It’s the faith of those around us that inspire us.  It’s the faith of those around us–a simple way in which they remind us of God’s love–that picks us up again.  God is so good, but sometimes we just have to be reminded of that.

The same is true for others.  Just as we need others to have faith for us in our times of doubt, we also need to have faith for someone in their times of doubt.

Whenever you feel like you are running on the fumes of your former faith, take a moment to look up.  See all of those around you that are living in faith for you.  Be inspired.  Be filled with their faith.  Whenever those around you fall, don’t ever lose your faith in him or her.

Sometimes having faith also means being someone else’s faith.

The Dimension of the Heart

Did you know that there is a dimension to our heart?

I was reading my devotional this morning, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and she taught me something that I have never thought about before.  Here’s what she wrote in the point of view of Jesus:

“There are actually more than four dimensions in this world where you live.  In addition to the three dimensions of space and the one of time, there is the dimension of openness to My Presence.  This dimension transcends the others, giving you glimpses of heaven while you still reside on earth.  This was part of My original design for mankind.  Adam and Eve used to walk with Me in the garden, before heir expulsion from Eden.  I want you to walk with Me in the garden of your heart, where I have taken up permanent residence.”

Don’t worry if this seems to whoosh past over your head because I had to really think about it myself, too.  But think about it this way…

The dimensions of space–length (or height), width, and depth–are the ways in which we relate to tangible objects (anything that is composed of matter and can touch).  Example of dimensions of space: A sheet of paper is 8.5″ wide and 11″ long.  I can tell you that, and you can envision exactly in your head what that looks like.  In other words, we related using the dimensions of space.

But the dimension of the heart… This is different because it is the way in which we respond to everything that isn’t tangible.  To respond to something with the dimension of the heart requires faith that it even exists.  Whenever someone tells you that they are angry or sad, you can relate because you believe the emotion exists even though you can’t see the actual emotion that makes someone smile or frown.

You don’t see God but you have faith that He is there.  Even if you say, “God, I don’t believe in you anymore,” you still had to believe that He was there to here what you said.  Even if  you claim to not believe, you are still stating your relation to Him.

This is what Sarah is referring to when she says the “dimension of openness to His presence.”  She’s talking about the way that you can relate to God’s presence through faith.  The larger your faith, the larger your receptivity will be to God’s presence.

If you are having a hard time becoming aware of the presence of God, try looking at the size of your faith.  Ask yourself the question, “What makes my believing in the existence of happiness different than the existence of God’s presence in my life?”

Today, use the dimension of your heart.

Accepting grace and the charity of God

Today was I flipping through the pages of Blue Like Jazz by one of my favorite authors, Donald Miller. While scanning the notations and pages filled with highlights and stars, I came across one of my most favorite passages in the book.  The passage was about grace and why we sometimes have a hard time accepting it.  “It seemed wrong to me,” Donald says, “to not have to pay for my sin, not to feel guilty about it or kick myself around.  More than that, grace did not seem like the thing I was looking for.  It was too easy.”

Donald continues on by explaining how he was enlightened on the subject of grace while at a grocery store.  The story begins when he recalls seeing a lady in front of him pay with food stamps.  Donald wished that he could buy her groceries or help her out in some other way, but he knew that would only cause a greater scene.  But now, I will let Donald tell you the rest of his own story…

“On the drive over the mountain that afternoon, I realized that it was not the woman who should be pitied, it was me.  Somehow I had come to believe that because a person is in need, they are candidates for sympathy, not just charity.  It was not that I wanted to buy her groceries, the government was already doing that.  I wanted to buy her dignity.  And yet, by judging her, I was the one taking her dignity away…

I love to give charity, but I don’t want to be charity.  This is why I have so much trouble with grace.

A few years ago I was listing prayer requests to a friend.  As I listed my requests, I mentioned many of my friends and family but never spoke about my personal problems.  My friend candidly asked me to reveal my own struggles, but I told him no, that my problems weren’t that bad.  My friend answered quickly, in the voice of a confident teacher, ‘Don, you are not above the charity of God.’  In that instant he revealed my motives were not noble, they were prideful.  It wasn’t that I cared about my friends more than myself, it was that I believed I was above the grace of God…

As I drove over the mountain that afternoon, realizing I was too proud to receive God’s grace, I was humbled.  Who am I to think myself above God’s charity?  And why would I forsake the riches of God’s righteousness for the dung of my own ego?”

Blue Like Jazz

pages 83-85

Have you had a problem with accepting God’s grace?  Remember that even you are not above the charity of God.