Category Archives: Walking Down the Narrow Road

Eagerly Waiting

Just the other day, I was flipping through the pages of Hebrews when I found a cool verse in chapter 9.  Here’s what it says,

“So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are

eagerly waiting

for him.”

-Hebrews 9:28-

When the realization hit me that I must always be eager in waiting, I began to feel like Octavius–the tiny figurine of a Roman soldier–from Night at the Museum 2.  In one scene, Octavius sets out to save his friend.  The only problem is that he must run across the front lawn of the White House.  For a tiny, plastic toy, this is a huge undertaking, one that he definitely underestimates.

Octavius begins by running with zeal.  The camera zooms in on him running through the grass, each blade taller than the red mohawk on his Roman helmet.  The viewers see Octavius running and panting and screaming war cries, but then, the camera zooms out, showing a view of the White House and the lawn out front.  Octavius cannot even be seen.   Eventually, Octavius collapses from exhaustion.

Often times, I find myself feeling just like Octavius.  My spiritual batteries become recharged, and I’m off to sprint to the finish line.  Once I feel exhaustion setting in, I look around only to realize that the distance yet to run seems too far and that there is no way that I can remain eager for even the rest of the day.  It’s in times like these when I wonder, “How in the world am I supposed to eagerly wait?”

God has already answered this question in a couple of verses.

  • Romans 15:5 calls God the “God of endurance and encouragement” and tells us to find our encouragement through Him and His word.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9 says that God’s grace is sufficient for us, even in our weakness.  Verse 10 even says that His power rests upon us in times of weakness
  • Galatians 2:20 reminds us that as Christians, the life that we now live in the flesh, we live by faith in Christ!

Here’s how we are to continue to wait eagerly:  to receive encouragement and endurance from, to rely on Him as our strength in our weakness, and to always live by our faith in Him.

So next time that you find yourself feeling depleted of spiritual energy, go to God.  Remember the work that He has done in your life; feel His power being perfected in  your weakness!  All the while, you’ll discover that it’s much easier to wait eagerly, after all, it’s Christ that we are waiting for…

A Lizard Taught Me to Have Faith This Morning

Do you ever feel like you are a stranger in your own homeland?

This morning when I walking into the hallway, I saw a critter on the floor.  At first, I thought that it was a dustball being moved by the moving air from when I opened my bedroom door.  When I put my glasses on though, I saw that it wasn’t dust but that it was a baby lizard instead.

Knowing me and the animal/critter lover that I am, I said, “Oh!  A new pet!” but then I remember that I was living in a house full of 50+ women and thought against that idea.

And so, I got a small, Styrofoam cup and scooped it up with the assistance of a napkin.  After grossing out on of my sorority sisters with the news that I had caught a lizard outside of her bedroom door, I took it downstairs and out into the yard.

While I was doing all of this, one thought came to my mind: this little guy is a stranger in search of the way back home.

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on earth.  For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland… 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, 14, 16

We were created to desire a better country, a heavenly one.  So have faith!  Even when you feel like you are an exile, even when you feel like a stranger, remember that God has prepared a place for those that remain steadfast in their faith.

Even as an exile, remain faithful.  Have faith!

A Spiritual Heart Transplant

Are we changed from the inside out?

In the book of 1 Samuel, there’s the story of a guy named Saul that became the first man to be elected as the king of Israel.  God has chosen Saul specifically to be their king; it wasn’t by chance or by the power of men.

When Saul left from being anointed as king, 1 Samuel 10:9-13 says,

“When he turned his back to leave from Samuel [the priest that had anointed him] God gave him a new heart…and the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied among them.  And when all who knew him previously saw how he prophesied with the prophets, the people said to one another, “What has come over him?  Is Saul also among the prophets?”  When he had finished prophesying, he came to the high place.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be given a new heart. While there are many different ways that you can reference the heart–the organ that pumps blood, the warehouse of emotions, etc.–the heart especially seems to us to be the place where God’s Spirit dwells within us.

God has plans for each and every one of us, and He has equipped us with the skills, gifts, talents, loves, and even a special heart in order to fulfill every part of His plan for us with His help.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!

Try me and know my thoughts!

Psalm 139:23

God knows us better than we know ourselves, but it’s time that we get to know ourselves a little bit better.  It’s time that we get to know ourselves not by our intentions but by our actions.

Does our outward appearance reflect the inward change that occured when the Holy Spirit filled us and were given a new heart?

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.

When creation no longer groans…

Do you ever wonder what nature will look like in heaven?


Yesterday, I was laying in my hammock out in the middle of someone’s farm– I mean, there was no “No Trespassing!” sign, so I figured it was okay……

Anyways!

I was laying in my really neat hammock just listening to the birds sing and feeling the wind blow through the parachute material of it.  In other words, I was simply enjoying just being out in God’s creation, which to me, seemed perfect besides the poison ivy growing right on the ground all around me.  I had to tiptoe through it as if walking through a mine field in order to set up my hammock.

Just about the time that I began thinking about how perfect everything was around me–besides the poison ivy, of course–I remembered a passage in Romans.  In Romans 8, Paul says that all creation has been in “bondage to decay” ever since the day that sin entered the world (Romans 8:19-22).  This passage made me ask myself, If this scene is groaning from being frustrated by sin, then how amazing will it be when Heaven comes with Jesus?

All I could say to answer that question was, “Woah!  I hope God has hammocks in heaven because I can’t wait to experience this in heaven!”

As a Christian, we believe that Jesus Christ died on a cross, becoming the curse of the Law itself in order that we might receive the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 3:13).  This belief is what saves us, allowing us to have what God has created us for: eternal life with Him (John 3:16, John 16:22).

Go out into the world today and praise God for giving you (as a Christian) the promise of an even more amazing creation to surround us once we finally reach heaven!  After all, when creation is no longer groaning, that will be the day when we receive “adoption as sons and the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23).

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.