Category Archives: Searching for Answers

…Trust IS the Lord

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

whose trust IS the Lord.

He is like a tree planted by water,

that sends our its roots by the stream,

and does not fear when heat comes,

for it’s leaves remain green,

and is not anxious in the year of the drought,

for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

* Jeremiah 17:7-8 *

This is one of my favorite Bible verses, and I think I like it so much because of the tree analogy.  Especially with summer heat full in swing, I feel as though every day is a day within a season of drought; therefore, this verse seems especially appropriate this time of the year.

Whenever you read this verse, I hope part of the beginning catches your eye… Blessed is the man…whose trust IS the Lord.  Woah!  That is a bold statement to make, a statement that I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out.  After all, why would it be necessary to make sure a huge distinction between trust in the Lord versus trust being Him.

Take some time and ask yourself why you think this distinction was made.  What implications are evident in the lives of those whose trust is the Lord?  I’ll be back tomorrow after a good night of sleeping.  Hopefully, He’ll be able to teach us all so much more about trusting through this passage.

Sleep well tonight or have a great day if you are reading this at any time other than bedtime ;) .

Praying your day is filled with Sonshine,

Sarah :)

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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.

“Becoming a better scratcher never makes the itch go away”

This past week, I was at home in Nashville, and my poor dog, Lacey, had the worst itching problem!  We would walk into the living room or kitchen and find cotton-balls of her fuzzy hair laying on the floor.  For a dog that’s not supposed to shed, we knew that she was desperately scratching to relieve an itch that never seemed to go away.

One Sunday morning at church, Dr. Cliff Wright talked about even us humans having an “itching problem.”  Although I don’t remember all of what he said, there was one saying that still sticks with me today.  “Becoming a better scratcher,” he said, “never makes the itch go away.”

So what is our itch?  What is the little mosquito that bit us in the first place?  In order to answer those questions, ask  yourself this: “What is an issue in my life that I have tried to handle on my own yet only seems to get worse?”

Materialism is just one example.  Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income.”  Addictions are another example.

One of my “itches” has always been the craving for others’ approval.  I would scratch and scratch by constantly seeking confirmation that what I was doing was accepted or approved of by my peers.  Once I received that complement, though, and felt that moment of temporary relief, my itch came back with with more severity and a greater need to be affirmed.  It was a vicious cycle, and it was only until I heard Cliff’s sermon that I realized the truth in his quote.  After all, I had become a pretty good scratcher and my itch certainly hadn’t gone away.

God is the only one that can make our itches go away.  Even more than this, though, God can even get rid of the pesky mosquito of sin that causes them.  It’s not easy, and it will take a while to go away, but trust God and grow in closeness with Him; let Him show you how His touch is even more soothing than calamine lotion.

Remain faithful to being full with faith

Do you ever feel like  you are searching for something that you can’t see?

We read the Bible, and we go to church, and we do all of these “Christian things,” and yet sometimes we just want to ask God, “Where are you?  Just show Yourself to me so that I can believe and never question Your existence again!”

Whenever we get this idea in our head, that we will have our search for God satisfied once we finally see Him, we are just getting ourselves mixed up.  You see, we’ll never be satisfied until the day that we are finally with God.

Brian Sorgenfrei, Mississippi State’s RUF minister, once talked about this while referencing Rocky Balboa.  He talked about how Rocky had trained for this one fight believing that it would be what defined him, what satisfied his deepest desires.  So the Italian Stallion fought that fight, and he even won!  But guess what…. there are five more Rocky movies!  That deepest desire that Rocky thought would be satisfied by winning the first, big fight, well, it was never satisfied, after all.

We are just like Rocky, going from one thing to the next trying to find a fact on which to base our faith.  If you truly believe in God and the work of His Son, His Holy Spirit lives within you!  What more of a reason for faith do you need than this?

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” –Hebrews 11:1

“We are always of good courage.  We know that while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-7

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar.  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:13, 16

God has prepared a city for us, a heavenly one.  And though we cannot actually see it, we see the evidence of it in our daily lives.  Sometimes our faith is tested in hard times, but we have to keep it!

We have to remain faithful to being full with faith.


Want to know God’s will for your life?

Do you ever struggle with wanting to know God’s will for your life?

If you said, “Yes,” to that question, then have no fear because we ALL struggle with this!  I constantly find myself asking questions like, What am I going to do with my life?  What does God want me to do?  What if I don’t follow His road exactly?  How will I know if I’m doing what God wants me to do?  What if I don’t want to do what He wants me to do?

Although I certainly don’t have an exact answer for you or anything, I’m learning that fulfilling God’s will for our lives is much simpler than we thought.  Here’s where we can begin:

1.  Accept that we cannot know God’s plan for our lives

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:10

2.  Seek Him constantly-

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8

Learn more about Him through reading the Bible : “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

3.  Glorify God in all that we do (1 Corinthians 10:31)

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

“We are always of good courage.  We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,  for we walk by faith, not by sight…So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.” 2 Corinthians 5:6, 7, 9

4. Enjoy HIM forever

“These things, I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” Jesus’s words in John 15:11

“For apart from him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” Ecclesiastes 2:25

“I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live.” Ecclesiastes 3:12

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Said simply, the next time that you begin to ask yourself, “What is God’s will for me?” take your eyes off of the problem and pray with your eyes on God.  Have faith in and draw near to, glorify, and enjoy Him forever: this is, at least, the beginning of what it means to live according to God’s will.

Don’t give the devil a foothold. Give God a pedestal!

Can people really change?

This is a question that I’ve been really wrestling with for a while.   I have a core weakness that I’ve been scared was something that couldn’t be changed.  That weakness is this: I’m absolutely terrified of rejection and being alone.  When I first got this fear, I became a perfectionist and a people pleaser.  This fear also led to my struggles with body image and many other issues.

Let’s face it, though, we all have these kinds of struggles, but I believe they have a different, more biblical name: footholds.  The NIV translation of Ephesians 4:27 says, “Do not give the devil a foothold.”  The ESV translation of the same verse says, “Give no opportunity to the devil.”  Said simply, these struggles are footholds and opportunities for the devil.

BUT, here’s the good news, these struggles/weaknesses don’t have to be footholds for the devil.  Instead, these weaknesses can be pedestals for God’s greatness!

This is actually where God took a bulldozer to the walls around my heart.  God changed my life and my heart completely when I finally found truth in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

” ‘My grace is sufficient for you

for My power is made PERFECT in

YOUR WEAKNESS.’

Therefore, I will boast all the more of my weakness,

so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

For the sake of Christ, then, I am CONTENT with

weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.

For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I’m not sure that I can give you a stronger dose of reality than this because Paul says it best in that verse!  I just hope and pray that no matter where you are in your life–whether you are struggling with certain fears, weaknesses, etc.–God is right there with you!  Even if you’ve been praying yet don’t feel changed, remember to view these trials as pedestals rather than footholds.

Imagine giving a lump of Play-do to a 5 year-old and saying, “Take my lump of Play-do and make whatever you want!”  No matter what your Play-do looks like, that 5 year-old is going to make something that you could never even imagine out of it!

The same is true whenever we give God our weaknesses and say, “Lord, take my weaknesses and do whatever you want with them.”  No matter what your weakness, He’s going to pour His grace into it and let His glory shine through you in a way that you cannot even imagine!

If you’re afraid that you can’t change because weaknesses/struggles are at the core of who you are, wake up and smell the roses!  If you believe the depth of God’s love, the completeness of Christ’s death and resurrection, and the power of the Holy Spirit, not only will you be changed, but you will be reborn!

How I chose to be with the Big Guy: Part 1

Just a few minutes while typing random words, trying to figure out what to write about, I finally stopped and prayed about what to write about.  Then God tapped on my shoulder.  It was almost as if He told me, “Tell them your story!”  So today, here’s my story… the beginning, at least, of how I chose to be with the Big Guy.

As far as I can remember–even back to times when I even ate grass during recess–I’ve always gone to church.  Most days, my dad would poke and/or thump me if I was kicking the pew in front of me.  As a more dangerous, second resort, I would fall asleep during the sermon.  Children’s choir, youth groups, small groups, Bible study–you name it, and I was involved in it.  I was the role model Christian girl, and yet-here’s the truth-

I didn’t actually know God.

Bold statement, isn’t it?  But it’s the truth because I only knew God and the Word on a SURFACE level.  Honestly, until this last year, I couldn’t even tell you many of the Bible stories that I learned as a child.  Whenever I read the Bible–meaning the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs–I enjoyed the verses that talked about how I could receive anything that I asked for in prayer… boy, now THAT is a whole other story!  If this makes you feel better, too, I didn’t even know who Paul was until this past year!  If you don’t know of these things, whoo hoo! , I’m so glad that you’re reading this because you are exactly where I was too!

So how did I go from having a shallow belief in God to where I am now, loving Him with all of my life?  Here’s how…

I broke.

My whole life, I spent all of my time and energy trying to be perfect, complete, whole.  At a young age, I began to believe that I would only be acceptable when I was working and looking perfect.  This seemed to be what made people like me, so wouldn’t that naturally be what made me acceptable to God?

Boy, could I have been more wrong!  Here’s what I want you to see from this.  I lived my whole entire life believing that I was a Christian without actually even knowing God.

This is the first part of my story.  I hope you can relate, and keep checking in for the parts to come!