You just need to focus on yourself for a while

How often do you hear that advice? If you have ever gone through a break-up, a job loss, a death, or a crisis I bet you’ve heard that phrase more than once. Now on the surface it seems like good advice right? Don’t focus on other people: get to know yourself again, pamper yourself for a while, do whatever your little heart desires, focus on yourself. But if I’m being honest, that is probably the worst advice I could ever give and have ever been given.

If my focus is on myself, then simply put it’s not on God. That’s a problem y’all. Please don’t misunderstand, we should all have times that we weigh ourselves against the Gospel. Tyler and I like to refer to these as “bug-fixes”. We use them in our marriage where we set aside a time to have a business meeting type conversation that’s simply what I can do better for him and what he can do better for me. (Most of the fixes deal with the piles of laundry I somehow don’t see- whoops!) We can also use “bug-fixes” in our spiritual life. Are you praying continuously? Are you giving thanks in all circumstances? Are you being disciple? Are you discipling another? Do you have an active spiritual life or are you being spoon-fed by your local church? These are all great questions to ask of ourselves to make sure we’re on the right track. After all, adjust just 2 degrees now could have significant repercussions later in life.

So bug-fixes are a good thing. Focusing on yourself in light of how you are glorifying God, also can be good. BUT, and that’s a BIG BUT, to focus on yourself, on your feelings, on your desires and even your dreams apart from God is detrimental. This world is not about us. The bad things that happen aren’t some big cosmic joke on you. Our purpose is to glorify God and bring others into our heavenly family. We can’t fulfill our purpose if we’re focused on ourselves. (Also totally applicable to “the church” [broad church, not specific church], our members need to be discipled yes, but we have to work at bringing others into our family)

The next time you’re tempted to tell someone to “just focus on themselves for a while” take a moment and think about what you’re saying. I would challenge that the best thing you can do in heartbreak or disappointment is not focus on yourself, but to focus on God. In the midst of disappointment the best thing you can do is love God and love others. 

Fun fact: no where in the greatest commandment does it say “just focus on yourself”.

When you come off the mountain top

I just got done with 24 hours of prayer at ABS. We decided to try and have one person praying at ABS every hour for a full day. While we didn’t quite accomplish our goal, the overall experience was a great one! I can’t wait to upload all my pictures from it!

And then the prayer day ended. It seems like the second I stepped out of the doors at ABS to go home I had this seething anger inside of me. I had given a girl permission to park her car on the ABS property until midnight (it was close to 1am when I left ABS), so as I was leaving I drove down to the back to check to make sure her car was gone. It wasn’t. I felt taken advantage of. I felt used, and we were used. We were used because the house party she was going to was semi-close and they’re parking was already full. Y’all I was mad. So I left a note. Nothing nasty, just that she needed to move her car because she was on private property and only had permission to park there until midnight.

After this little jaunt, I drive back up to the front because Tyler insisted on following me home. When I told him I would prefer going last so I could check the mail he told me that he would check it, if he remembered. Y’all, we live <5 minutes from the ABS House, probably less than 3 at 1am with no traffic. There was that anger again. He volunteered to check the mail so he could follow me home (which was all ridiculously nice- in a right mind I would have been thankful for this), but thinks he might forget in the 2 milliseconds it takes to actually get home? Are you kidding me? And then the thought goes through my mind, “This is why I just do things myself”.

Y’all I am so ashamed of that thought and the anger that was washing over me. I’m currently sitting in our living room crying and typing while Tyler gets ready for bed (by my request). The prayer experience was such a wonderful thing! Tyler and I even found time to pray together for our future and some very dear friends and family that were on our hearts. The mountain top was so beautiful and awe-inspiring! But then I started back down the mountain and the devil struck. I allowed Satan to bully his way into my tired mind and to make mountains out of molehills. Now the girl that parked at ABS, maybe I could be a little upset about it, but being mad at Tyler for trying to look our for me? I have no right.

Now I’m bawling in my living room pouring out my heart on this blog because that’s what I do when I’m upset: blog and pray, & pray and blog. *Side note: My cat literally just ran down the stairs and then hit the door stop thing (the one that makes the spring noise when you hit it) and scared the tar out of himself!* I’m reminded that God is still good. And as silly as it is, Benson scaring himself gave me something to laugh at and broke the tension in my mind and heart. No matter how high up the spiritual mountain I climb, I will always have to come back down the other side (at least this side of Heaven I will). I have to remember that when the mountain turns into a avalanche that I still have to trust in God. I am reminded of the verse, “Submit to the Lord. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” [James 4:7, paraphrased]. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen War Room twice in the last 24 hours that this verse pops into my head, but maybe it’s also because that’s exactly what I should be doing. Instead of just allowing things to happen to me, emotions included, maybe I should start being proactive about it. Maybe I need to start playing offense and not just defense. So I’m going to start with a strategy, a strategy that I talked about in a previous post, but will now actually will start using.

But for tonight, I will leave you with this- if you’re coming off of a spiritual mountain too you’re not alone. I’m right there with you, and if you want a little extra encouragement, check out 1 Kings 19 about Elijah. No spoilers, but after he defeats some prophets of Baal in a huge miraculous event (chapter 18), he flees and begs God to take his life. The bible is full of spiritual celebrities that come off the mountain feeling less than, feeling defeated, and ultimately letting their emotions get the best of them.

Tonight my prayer is this: that we take “Submit to the Lord. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” as a life motto. That we remember that the devil has already been defeated! Jesus has crushed his skull and there will be no life left in him soon enough. Until the time of his complete defeat, I pray that we Submit only to the Lord, not to our emotions; that we resist the devil because we are a chose race and a royal priesthood- we are children of the one true King; and that we remember God is living inside of us if we are his and that’s enough to make even the biggest rotten devil helpers flee. God is enough, and He has already won.

Prayer Experience

Over the past 24 hours, ABS has put on a day of prayer. It has been an interesting 24 hours to say the least. We put up various stations so students could practice “adoration, supplication, thanksgiving, and confession”. We also made posters that showed the top 100 un-reached people groups of the world.

We chose to have our day of prayer on St. Patrick’s Day because St. Patrick was a missionary to Ireland and was responsible for converting the Irish to Christianity. You can read more about the history of St. Patty’s Day here.

We encouraged the students to stop by for an hour out of their day and spend it in prayer. We provided them with a 40-day prayer challenge for the un-reached people groups that can be found here. The Joshua Project group that created this prayer guide also created an amazing app that encourages you to pray for a different un-reached people group every day!

My favorite part of planning was getting to create an example prayer strategy for the students to take and make their own. I’ve struggled with prayer so much over the past year or so and this really helped me to think about how my prayers could best be used. I used the book Fervent and a prayer journal as a guide to help me draft what would best fit a college student’s life. You can find a copy of the sheet I created below.

Handout for Prayer

I hope this helps in your prayer endeavors! Let me know if I can answer any questions for you!

1 Peter 2

This morning in bible study our group went over 1 Peter 2. Tyler got me a journaling bible for Valentine’s Day so I’ve been using it and taking notes in the margins. (If you live off notes, I highly recommend a journaling bible! I’ve been able to add in my own commentary, ask questions and then go back and answer said questions, it’s just wonderful!) Anywho, we got into 1 Peter 2 this morning and immediately I was drawn to the second and third verses in the chapter.

“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation- if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

Even in my limited experience around babies, I know that when it’s time to eat it’s time to eat. If mommas not there someone had better be finding a way to get that baby some milk! Newborn infants long for milk, they need it- and that’s what helps them to grow. That is the first thing that popped into my head this morning as I read vs 2. Then I started to think about the phrase “by it you may grow up into salvation”. I’ve been talking to my CalFay girls about salvation a lot recently because they’re right at the age of beginning to understand and ask some really good questions. (Yikes!) So this phrase really made me wonder, what does grow up into salvation mean? Don’t we just ask Jesus into our hearts, badabing badaboom and it’s done? Well, yes and no. In my personal opinion, I think salvation is directly tied to sanctification. So yes, we are “saved” and “redeemed” and “brought back into the flock” the day we decide to follow Jesus and have faith that he really is who He says He is and really did/does what He says He really did/does. HOWEVER, if you never truly surrender your life and start acting according to God’s will instead of your own, I believe your “salvation experience” was just a show. For the rest of our lives after we decide to follow Jesus we have to fight against our sin nature. For some of us, that’s fighting against sexual sin, or fighting against pride, or lying, or idolizing money, celebrities, and even ourselves over God. The list could go on forever- but the point is, we have to be intentional about aligning ourselves with God if we are truly in it for the long haul. James 2:17-18 says:

“Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, ‘You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.'”

Now this is where things start to get prickly. We are not saved by works, we are saved by a faith in Jesus Christ. Period. But if you are truly saved, others will be able to see it by how you behave. We are called to stand apart from the world. See John 15:19, Romans 12:2, 1 John 2:15-17. We are also told to be sanctified which means to continually grow in Christ, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18)   So to me, to “grow up into salvation” is another way of saying sanctification.

And now verse 3 “if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good”. Y’all God is good and we are not. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. This part of the verse throws us back to Psalms 34:8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” This Psalm was written by David, a man after God’s own heart. He was also a man that committed adultery, had the woman’s husband murdered, and did various other questionable things. David wasn’t perfect, but his pursuit of God was pretty darn close. David laments in his Psalms after committing his “big sins” listed above, not because he hurt other people, but because he went against God and it literally pained him. It broke him to the core because he messed up against the one person that had always been there for him. By the world’s standards, he blew it BIG time. But by God’s standards, when David repented all was forgiven. David’s heart was pure in his repentance and the motives that lead to his repentance. He was so enthralled by God and His mercy and grace that he could say “taste and see”.

Think of your absolute favorite food. For me it’s Pasta, but specifically pasta with Catalina dressing a lot of shredded cheddar cheese. It’s delish! Everytime I make this pasta, I can taste it and know exactly what it is without even seeing it. It doesn’t always look very pretty, but the flavor- out of this world! I know this pasta so well and have made it so often that I can tell if anything is off about it. If someone used a different brand of Catalina dressing, or a different fineness of shredded cheese, I can tell. So think of a food that you know backwards and forwards- maybe ice cream, maybe spaghetti, maybe chicken. Now imagine knowing God even better than that. You see, I think David chose to use the words “Taste and see” because a lot of our fellowship takes place around food, and quite honestly a lot of our lives revolve around food. David was able to use this wording because he knew God. He knew how merciful, how full of grace, how loving, but also how just God was. David knew that even though he had screwed up royally, that God was still in control and God is still good even when we are not. Even when we mess up our favorite recipe, the recipe in itself is still a good recipe. It doesn’t stop being good just because we muddle things and have a user error. God has been, is, and will always be good.

Once we grasp the fact that God is good and we are not, we realize how desperately we need salvation and how important sanctification is. After all, we were never made to live on bread or milk alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Paraphrased from Matt 4:4)

Confession Time

Confession Time: I withdrew from the Master’s Program I was in last week. Honestly, I don’t owe anyone an explanation, the decision was strictly between God, me, and Tyler. BUT, I am working on overcoming this wonderful little thing called Pride, and I think sharing part of the reasons behind my decision may be a step in the right direction.

First let me start by saying this, I am a ridiculously prideful person. I am also a ridiculously competitive person. I do NOT like these qualities in myself and unfortunately I have lost some friends because I didn’t see these qualities as a problem for a very long time.

I realized not too long ago that when people asked me what I was doing, it felt really good (but in a bad way) to say “Oh, I’m pursuing a M.Div through the BMA Seminary and working with girls at my church and at a local college ministry.” If you read that in my voice, you would hear a tone of snobish in it. When I finally heard myself say these words I was shocked! It dawned on me that I had two reasons for starting Seminary last fall: 1) To know God more/better and 2) Because that’s what I was supposed to do- after Bachelor’s comes Master’s.

Although my first reason was a good one, at least it seemed like it at the time, my second reason is just ridiculous. While I wanted to know God more and thought I could do that best if I was graded on it, I was wrong. I turned studying God into a chore to check off my To-Do list, something I absolutely dreaded instead of seeking Him because I love Him. I am so ashamed of that. How in the world was I supposed to be an example to my Middle School Girls and my ABSer’s when I dreaded reading my bible and praying?

Thankfully God has this beautiful sense of humor that feels a lot like a swift kick in the rear at times. I realized that seminary, although a good thing wasn’t necessarily a God thing for me, last Sunday over the course of about an hour. When I looked into the last day to withdraw, it happened to be the following Friday. (Coincidence? More like God-incidence)

Dropping out in the middle of the semester is something I never would have done on my own. In fact, even writing about it now I much prefer the term withdrawing over dropping out- it sounds so much more positive.

There will be some people that think I made this decision due to one of the following reasons (all of which are false):

  1. I’m Pregnant- FALSE!
  2. I was failing my classes- also false!
  3. My Husband didn’t want me to continue- definitely false!
  4. The list goes on…..

I recognize that through the world’s eyes, this is marked down in the failure category and I’m making my peace with that. I recognize that not having a tangible reason for this decision is not a good way to make the decision. I recognize that if I probably would’ve prayed about this semester before I signed up for classes, I would’ve saved a lot of time and money. Ultimately I recognize that my life is no longer my own.

For the longest time I thought I was in charge of my life and while I do have free will to choose whether to obey or not, I want to be all in. If I’m going to make the statement that I want to be a living sacrifice and to give up my life (desires, plans, needs, etc) to the Creator then I have to be able to obey when he starts leading. I have to learn to be sensitive to his guidance and to see it when He provides it. I don’t want to just talk the talk about being All In, I legitimately want to live a life fully dedicated to Christ.

As I was making this decision, I came upon a great quote by Glynnis Whitwer that was perfect for this competitive, pride-filled heart.

“I want a heart that pursues God more than goals.”

So long story short, although I hope God will open the doors for me to continue my studies one day, I want to make sure I am seeking Him first. I want to pursue God more than myself, more than my goals, more than my plan. I want to be obedient. And so far, he’s been answering my prayers to break me to His will, not my own.

God, are you sure? 

So this weekend I’m at a girls conference with some of my church girls. I’m not gonna lie, this weekend has been rough. I haven’t seen my husband in over a week (yay busy lives), I miss my bed, I miss my home, and I miss just being me with no other responsibilities. 

But for as many conferences as I’ve gone to in my life, this is one of the best. I’ve learned more about myself and my calling in a conference designed for Middle and High School girls. 

I felt so awesome last night about what I was doing in life. I finally felt secure about ABS, my CalFay girls, and my walk with God. And then I got back to the hotel. 

After I got the girls settled, I walked outside and called my hubby. And I had a complete and total meltdown. I literally told him “God doesn’t know what he’s doing. This is too hard, it can’t be right.” And bless his heart, he just let me talk it through and told me what I already knew (because I had heard it less than 2 hours before at the conference)- I am burdened for this. I have been called to this. A calling is where your talents (your God-given birthrights) and your burdens (the thing that broke your heart) collide. 

My birthright is being able to relate to kids (possibly because I am totally still one). God has given me a heart for girls from tiny to college. My burden is what happened to my daddy. I put what my parents went through on myself- I grew up too quickly and tried to handle things on my own because I thought that was what I could control. I thought if I could control something and help by doing then things would be easier. Who knows, maybe they were easier for me, but I have some long term scars from trying to take on too much too quickly that have shaped who I am becoming. 

What the Devil used to hurt me, God used for good in the long run. Because of my experiences, I have a specific set of skills that most people don’t. I recognize how cruel life can be and am surprisingly patient when things go wrong (not always, but around kids I am) because I recognize what’s important in life. 

So after my break down I realized something. I am exactly where God wants me to be. God knit me together knowing I would be in a hotel hallway in Brentwood, TN on Feb 19, 2016 crying my eyes out because I felt so insecure, so  unprepared, so negative about what I was doing. God gave me the skills needed to start on this journey, and He will provide the rest of the way. 

Why I won’t pray for healing

Over the past few years, I have become keenly aware that everyday brings us one step closer to the grave. Now, don’t gasp just yet- I haven’t gone off the deep end. Everyday it seems I hear about someone else with a terminal illness, someone else that has died, someone else that is struggling. I am acutely aware of how much this world wears on us and how heart-breaking it can be to be bombarded by death and destruction day after day.

At the same time, as Christians each day brings us one step closer to literally meeting our maker. The worst case scenario in this life is death, at least for most people, but for Christians shouldn’t that be something to look forward to? Sunday Brother Kirk shared that when we close our eyes in this Earth and open them in Heaven, he believes we will finally have the feeling that ‘THIS is what I was created for’. Heaven is where we will be redeemed, fulfilled, and whole for the first time in our lives.

So I don’t pray for healing. It all started when my dad was sick. I can’t remember the exact time my mind shifted, but I do remember feeling like I had this wall that I just couldn’t pray for healing. I felt like I knew that no matter what happened, no matter if he was miraculously healed or not, he would still die before I was ready for him too. So I didn’t pray for healing, instead I prayed for strength, for peace, for comfort, for his life to be a light to the rest of my family, and that we would be able to celebrate and rejoice in the life and Christian walk that my dad lived (especially toward the end of his life) no matter what the outcome. We also prayed Isaiah 40:31 over my dad.

“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

It dawned on me after he had died, that God granted this prayer. Dad’s strength had been renewed, for the first time ever he would be able to run and not grow weary. He was mounted up on wings like eagles because for the first time ever, he got to be in Heaven with his creator literally doing what he was created to do.

During that time though, we had a lot of people tell us that they were praying for his earthly healing. Then when he died, it seemed to rock their world and not in a good way. They thought that God hadn’t come through, that somehow God had let us down. But God gave us the desires of our hearts. God healed my dad and allowed him to go home for the first time. God allowed dad to come face to face with Jesus and I think there was a joyous reunion between my dad and his dad too.

I don’t pray for healing because that can be a stumbling block for a lot of people. It’s really easy to be mad at God when you think you know best and He doesn’t follow along. Please know, I don’t pray that people will die either. Instead, I pray that whatever the outcome, whatever God’s will turns out to be, that the person in question have peace about where their eternity lies. I pray that they have a supernatural peace and strength from God himself. I pray that the family has the same and is able to see past the potential pain into the blessing that may be. I pray that their life be a witnessing tool and whatever happens, that it be used to further the Kingdom of God and to glorify Him. Lastly, I pray that above all, God’s will be done because he knows far better than I what the best course of action is.

You see, while I only see the threads on the back of the tapestry of my life, God sees the completed picture of the world’s tapestry from creation to the end of time. Who am I to stand in God’s way. Job 38:4-7 says this,

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
    Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
    or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together
    and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

So no, I don’t pray for healing. Instead I pray that I and they be aligned to God’s will and whatever may come brings glory to God. I don’t know much, but what I do know is that God is good and we are not. And one day when I get to stand next to my dad in Heaven and see the grand tapestry of time, I don’t want to see where I tried to stand in God’s way. I can’t see the grand plan, and because of that, I try my best to keep myself in perspective. God is just, He is holy, He is loving, and He is good. He will accomplish his purposes with or without me on board.

I don’t pray for healing. Instead, I pray for Heaven. And I thank God that He allowed me to learn this from my parents. I thank God that dad is in Heaven right now glorifying God forevermore by finally being able to do what he was created for.

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A friend loves at all times… Proverbs 17:17

Tonight as I reflect back on my day and the past week, I am overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with thankfulness, with love, with joy, and with beauty. 

My week has looked something like this- Monday staff meeting and prep for the week, Monday night get sick and have a fever until Wednesday. I had to miss ABS and Church this week because of this fever. Lame right? Then today I got to have coffee with a wonderful friend and just talk about life. This afternoon I got to eat Tacos for Life with more friends and in between the two I got to work on an amazing presentation for the mission rally tomorrow night! 

Tonight, as I reflect on the week, it hits me that a lot of friends have come and gone throughout the various seasons of my life. My best friends now I didn’t know 6 years ago (or less). I’ve realized that God has been so faithful in letting so many wonderful lives be intertwined with mine! Although I don’t see these friends as often as I would like, God has allowed new Godly women to come into my life to fill the void. This is so beautiful because my original friends are still in my life, our lives have just taken different directions. We’ve all had new women come into our lives to encourage, support, and challenge us in our walks with Christ! How beautiful and faithful is our God that he has let so many beautiful people come and go through my life. 

So I say all of that to say this. Thank you. Thank you for playing a part in my life story and helping me bring glory to God. Thank you for walking through life with me, whether it be a long or short season we walked together. Thank you for pouring into my life and allowing me to pour into yours. Thank you for pointing me to God, whether you know you are or not. Thank you so much for being you and for showing me grace. I love you and am so thankful for your sweet friendship! 

And forever we will sing by Tyler Bowman! 

I praise God that I can sing, that the breath of life that He breathed out into the first man can swell up within us and offer forward a sound of praise and adoration to Him, and thus in some small measure we can return to Him that most basic blessing that He first put upon us!I praise God that I can sing to music, that I am filled with amazement of all of the ways in which His living church has been inspired to write their praises to Him. I am thankful for melody and harmony that He has imbued into creation from the vibrations of air to the pulsing of the stars to the beating within my chest.

I praise God that I can sing skillfully, that in accord with music and lyrics of His praise and His great deeds we can produce symphonies of praise and emotion with a combination of skills and talents that inspire others to do the same, that impart valuable messages of His love and His majesty into the hearts of sinners both saved and lost.

I praise God that I can sing in my sorrow and joy, that no matter what situations and trials and struggles surround me I can pour out my heart in song to Him who knows my every heartache. I praise Him that I can raise my voice in exaltation to sing louder and higher and stronger until my throat is as raw as the unbridled love and emotion pouring from my chest. I praise Him that I can be overwhelmed and brought to tears when my worship brings me to the place where I am reminded of just how unfathomably great He truly is, and that He has made Himself available to each of us despite our innumerable shortcomings. I praise Him that even when my lungs ache and my voice cracks and melody fails me that I can raise that joyful noise unto Him and continue to ascribe until Him the glory that He already possesses.

I praise God that we can sing together, that as one His people and His church, whether in great congregations or private meetings, can bring that same worship and praise to Him, that even hearts who do not acknowledge His greatness can be found repeating the words that give Him due honor, that every person in their humble and broken state with their own pain can seek Him and find Him to be the One who meets all of their needs. I praise Him that in every assembly He sees to the heart of each man and is worshiped in great collusion among the souls that have seen His salvation and received His Spirit. I praise Him that our limited words and failing vocabularies are made whole by the intercession of that Spirit and by the Son who died for us. I praise Him that as a result we will one day be gathered up together to Him and enter into His glory everlasting, that each person will take the great deeds and rewards that were attained in their life, whether great or meager, and cast them at His feet, that His bride the church will have the joy and love of His eternal presence.

And forever we will sing.

I want to love God

You probably just read the title of this post and thought, “What? You don’t already love God??” My answer to you would be yes, I do love God, but I have a horrible time showing my love.

Let me give you some background, my entire family is church people. I grew up in a small Baptist church with my entire family around me. Think I’m kidding? Thinking back to my younger years, I would guess-timate that I was related to probably 85% of my church family and the other 15% had been around so long they might as well have been blood relatives. Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing to have a family that knows the importance of the church and lives it out. It was nice to feel so at home in the church I attended growing up, but I think it also caused me to become complacent.

I was saved when I was 7. When I told my mom I wanted to be saved she asked me to wait and answer some questions for her first. She asked me what salvation was, why I wanted to be saved, what salvation meant to me, and probably several others. She wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing. Not because she was against it, on the contrary- she was thrilled! But salvation is so much more than praying a pray and then continuing to live life. The effects of salvation for a 7 year old looks a lot different than it does for a 40 year old.

Salvation isn’t knowing who Jesus is- the Devil knows EXACTLY who Jesus is and he isn’t saved. Salvation isn’t being a church member or part of a certain denomination. Salvation is not a prayer- contrary to popular belief.

Salvation is a three-fold process. Salvation is an understanding of the mind and being able to discern truth from lies. Salvation is a movement of the will; it’s surrendering our will to accomplish God’s will. Salvation is an application of the heart; salvation is manifested in our lives by a loving obedience to God and that means caring for the poor and broken-hearted, it means seeking ways to show people God’s love physically and then explain it to them spiritually. A saving knowledge of Jesus Christ changes your life, your personality, your attitude, they way you think about things, it changes you for the better.

Salvation is a conversion to become Christ-like and to seek to glorify Him through our time here on Earth. It’s glorifying Him above us.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 says this, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

Well, how do we do that?

  • Loving God with all your heart= Surrendering your will
  • Loving God with all your soul=Surrendering your affections/relationships
  • Loving God with all your mind= Surrendering your intellect to His revealed truth
  • Loving God with all your strength= Surrendering to Him all your being, to love Him with literally your whole self and life

I want to love God with all my heart, soul, might and strength. But where do I start? I take things fore-granted because I’ve always been surrounded by Godly people that really never had to take a stand for their faith because we live in America. Well, we start with being honest with ourselves and accepting that fact- we may be asked to do something completely out of our comfort zone. We may be asked to relinquish control and to say Yes before we know what we’re saying Yes to. We may be asked to give up things that are important to us- relationships, careers, money, security, the list goes on.

I’m scarred. I don’t know what surrendering looks like for me yet, but I plan to find out. I hope you’ll join me in fully surrendering ourselves and becoming a living sacrifice for the one true God. I want people to be able to see my love for God in my actions every single day. I don’t want just to tell God I love him, I want my love for God to radiate from every part of my being.

And so for now, “just as I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt, fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.” Just as I am, I come to God and surrender my all.