My Music Mondays {Britt Nicole}

This song makes me cry every time. Sometimes I get so focused on the here and now. Sometimes I get so caught up in my current situation and today’s struggles, that I forget. We do. We forget that God has been there throughout so much in our lives, and when we truly look back and are able to see everything that God has brought us through, it might make our situation seem not so big…. or maybe it gives us a little more faith to carry on and trust Him more.

If you are human,  you know that sometimes our faith and trust in God can slip. Until it slaps us in the face that God really has been there all this time. In every pain and every struggle, He has brought us through. We owe everything to Him. It is really humbling to think about how God cares for us, and heals us. Whatever your situations were, however hard they may have been or might be, you are not alone. God is there, and you can trust Him. He will never fail you. If you haven’t in the past, trust Him now… and one day, you can look back and say…. “You’ve been walking with me all this time.”

All this time by Britt Nicole

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My Music Mondays {Ronnie Freeman}

“I think these songs came out of a longing for something to take place that’s only just happened in the last few months. Everybody’s got closets in their heart, the ones that are filled with all sorts of trash and clutter, that you don’t want to open or acknowledge. For me, I see now that that’s what I was doing with my life. I let God and other people into some parts of my life, but there were those closets I just kept closed. There were some dark corners I needed to open up and let the light into and just clean out,” says Ronnie Freeman.

So many of us seek fulfillment from things,  social status, and pop-culture attractions.  But a person who is truly fulfilled, peaceful, and beautiful is one who has made Jesus Christ their all in all, their first love, their only worth.  A man or woman who has truly become a living sacrifice for Jesus Christ is one who will change this world for eternity. We are nothing in and of ourselves. Without Him, we would not exist let alone have any worth. Any worth we have comes from He who has made us, and any true good in us is truly only Jesus. No matter where you have been, God has an incredible story to write for your life – He’s simply waiting for you to give Him the pen.

“I hope these songs will inspire people to reflect,” he concludes, “to come to that crossroads of faith where they examine their own hearts and lives. I personally played church for so long, and I want to call people out of that. Not in a scolding way, but in an inviting way. I want to call them into a new place. A place, where together, we can hear God Speaking.”

Visit Ronnie’s website here.

 

The Only Thing by Ronnie Freeman

 

What women want. {Listen up, guys}

I think that guys take a lot of bashing these days.

Be a man.
Take responsibility.
Treat her right.
Don’t say this.
Don’t do that.
Gosh, grow up.

I know I have done my fair share, and perhaps rightfully so at times. However, I do know good guys. I know men who truly want to be better than they are. Who want to be brave and strong and do their best to raise a family to the glory of God. I don’t think that these men get the attention and encouragement they deserve.

It’s not easy being a girl. That’s the truth. But I can not imagine it is easy to be a man either. Men have a tremendous amount of responsibility. They are the spiritual head of the home. Men are responsible for their entire family all of their lives. It is a big task to take on, and it is not for the faint of heart.

People always talk about how precious and special women are to God, and that is ok because it is true and easy to talk about. But you guys, you are just as precious and special to Him.

Think about the relationship that a father has with his son. A special bond that can never be broken. One of love, and honor, enduring commitment, and constant care. Think of the father who sees his son on the baseball field or at graduation, and he smiles with pride and says, “He’s mine.”

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. Romans 8:15-16

The sons of God are no less dear to His heart than His daughters.

A friend told me this story. Imagine Jesus walking on the beach with a little boy. Hand in hand they are walking. You then see Jesus stop, kneel down, and talk to the boy. You hear Jesus telling the boy how much he loves him, and that he has made him with a purpose- to grow into the man He has in His perfect will planned for him to be. He tells the boy He will be there every step of the way. He will never leave, but will be there guiding him along so that he is never alone. As you get closer, you realize that boy is you.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

You are the sons of God. He loves you so much that He wants to mold you and make you into His valiant warriors. He wants to teach you to be like Jesus. He wants you to trust Him to be the example of what a husband should be. He wants you to take His hand so that He can make you into the father after His own heart.  He wants you to get on your knees and beg Him for his grace to be the man God has called you to be. He wants you to find your ultimate satisfaction in Him. Nothing apart from him will satisfy-Not money, women, or success-Not your looks, or brains, or biceps-Not fame, or friends, or performance. Nothing apart from Christ alone will make you whole. Only He can complete you. Your worth does not come from anything outside of Him. It comes from the One who created you, and has already defined you.

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. 1 John 3:1a

And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:10

The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. Exodus 15:2

There is nothing stronger and more manly on the earth than a man who is in love with Christ and is fully surrendered to His will.

That man is a hero. That man can change the world. With his hand in God’s, that one man can do big things- things that matter- things that will change the world now and for eternity. He can be bold for his Savior.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life;  of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Romans 8:37

Whatever it is that you do, God has a divine plan that is bigger than your everyday routine. It is bigger than the plans that you have for yourself. He has promised to help you, and lead you, and guide you, and mold you into the man you can not be on your own-the man that only Christ can make. It won’t always be easy. In fact, it might be the hardest journey you could ever dare to take, but it is the only path that is perfect. It is the only path that satisfies. It is the only path of peace.

Men, there are women who want to stand beside you, take your hand, and join your mission for Christ.

These women want so badly for you to be brave. To fight against fear and lust and pride, and to protect them from the rest of the world. They want you to lead them, just as Christ leads the church, and love them enough to die for them.  If you follow Christ, and humble yourself, and get on your knees every day, God will provide a good woman for you. Not a girl who plays games, and is out to destroy you, but a good woman of God who will seek to pray for you, encourage and hep you, and build Godly homes with you. We want you to know how special you are to God, and find your worth in Him. We want you to be satisfied in your love for Christ so that you can be an equipped leader for our homes. I promise they are out there. I know them personally. You may even be married to one. We are waiting for brave men who know their stuff, and are valiant enough to fight like a man, follow God, and seek to be like Jesus.

So if you are married or single….we are asking, not demanding, not bashing, really begging….. please, be the man we know you can be with God’s help. He is the only answer. God wants you guys to be brave. We want you to be brave. God loves you so much, and HE is asking for you to come, and follow Him. It won’t be easy, and it will cost you, but it will be worth it. It is the only thing that will ever be worth it. It is the only thing that will fulfill you because it is what you were made for. Men, come and be what you were made to be in Christ. Come and be made whole. Come and be warriors the God that you love. We want you to be our heros.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

My Music Mondays {Lindsay McCaul}

“I really feel like Satan was trying to get a hold of me, keep me from fully giving my life to the Lord,” Lindsay McCaul says. “It’s a control thing. You want to control an area in your life. The Lord had to really break me of that and show me that He’s in control of my life.”

Lindsay McCaul is a fairly new artist. Her first album was just released in January 2012, and I immediately liked her. She has such genuine lyrics. This ballad in particular is so beautiful. So many times, we take our people, or possessions, or even our pain, and we hold on so tight. Unwilling to let God have complete control over those things that we feel define us. If we would just let go and let God fill those places in our lives where we are so empty, we could be made whole. This song is a prayer to God to help us do just that.

Lindsay McCaul wrote this song specifically about her struggle with an eating disorder. She admits the healing didn’t happen overnight and her experience left her with a burden for young girls and what they face in today’s society. “It took years for the Lord to get that deep and let the Word wash over me and scrub off the influence of the world,” she says. “The Lord showed me that the root of all of that for me was that I was so desperate for people’s approval. I can see that back in high school. I can see that back in college, even getting into the music industry. You can’t please all the people all the time. You can’t even please most of the people all the time and why would you even want to? The world says it matters who you look like, but what matters is what the Lord says about us and that is the only thing that lasts – who we are in Him and the identity that we have in Jesus.”

Visit Lindsay’s website here.

“Why” ….and other questions I don’t have the answer for.

I am a perfectionist to some degree. Not in every area, but I like to know that things are figured out. Have a plan. Know what is happening next. Sometimes, in life, that is not the case. Sometimes we have no idea what is going to happen next, how things will play out, how God will work to save the day.. and that’s where faith comes in.

Faith does not come natural. It is a hard thing to give up control of your life with all of its plans and all of its worries to someone and something you can not see. It’s hard not to have answers. So on we endure, because we know that in the end, all things will make sense.

However, I think some people have a misconception of faith, in that “faith” means we endure until we have the answers. I know I think that sometimes. I just have to make it through, and soon everything will make sense. Just have faith until then. What if that never happens?

What would our faith be if we had all of our answers? If there were no unanswered questions of life, why would we really need faith in God?

The thing is, we do not endure until we have answers. We endure until the end.

See, if we are waiting and just having faith until we get answers to our questions, we will not endure till the end. We will faint, because there will never be a point in life when all of our questions are answered. Some may be answered sooner or later, but there will always be more questions. More why’s, and when’s and how’s. Everything on this side of time does not make sense, and may not make sense until we reach heaven. Our hope is not in that everything is soon going to work out perfectly here on earth. Our hope is in that God, whether or not things work according to our plan, will work all things together for our good and His glory.

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Waiting on the Lord could be all of our lives. Are we prepared to endure until then? So often, I get caught up in hoping for answers when what I really should be hoping in is Jesus Christ alone. I’ve come to realize the great Christians that I know, and the great Christians in time are not the “lucky ones” that got all their questions answered. They simply trusted and obeyed despite what they were able to see–  and that is great faith.

So, maybe God doesn’t give us the answers to all of our questions, but He does give us promises that He will take care of us, and give us the strength to trust Him everyday.

Matthew 6:28-34 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Philippians 4:12-14 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Isaiah 43:2-3 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

He doesn’t promise us all of our answers here on earth, but He does promise us to be with us every step of the way.

He doesn’t really owe us an explanation, either. He created us. Without Him we would have no life, not one breath. If He were to stop so would we. He alone causes our very hearts to go on beating. He formed us and fashioned us with love and care while we were still inside our mothers womb.

He saved us. He took an undeserving penalty for my actions. The sin that I commit, that I do everyday, Jesus was crushed under God’s Holy Hand for.  Without the cross, we would be on our way to hell.

He gave us life and heaven, and we think He owes us answers to every one of our questions? I guess not.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

We don’t just have to keep the faith until some magical point in our lives when all things are clear. All things WILL be clear someday, when we who are God’s children, are home in heaven and we have the mind of Christ. Not until then. It wasn’t until the Apostle Paul’s death that he was able to say,

2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Even Job ask questions. Although He trusted and hoped in God, he asked WHY so many times. God appeared to Job in the end of the book, and not once did God give Job the answer. He simply said, Do you know who I Am?? Just trust. My ways are higher… There is no one like me.

So, brace yourself. It’s gonna be a long road of faith, of unanswered questions, and of pressing on towards the mark in spite of it all. It takes faith and courage. And although we don’t deserve it, God will never leave us or forsake us. He will always be there with new mercies every morning, and a fresh supply of grace for each day. He will not leave us confused or ashamed if we put our trust in Christ, not in all of our questions being answered, but in Christ, and Christ alone.

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?” C.S. Lewis

My Music Mondays {Kari Jobe}

 

“Ultimately, it’s about declaring who He is and enjoying the simplicity of knowing the Lord is near,” says Kari Jobe. “He’s for us, He loves us, and sometimes, we need to just stop, enjoy His presence and take that in.”

For those who know me it is needless to say that Kari is my favorite artist. I had the privilege of  meeting her last summer in Peru on a missions trip she and I were a part of. She was as sweet, and fantastic as she seems. Not only does she have a beautiful voice, but she is a beautiful person from the inside out. She has such a sweet spirit, and a gentle way about her which really comes through in her music. Her worship will bring you to tears. Every song is a love letter to God. Singing of his love and faithfulness, we can never go wrong.

I have so many favorites that it was so hard to choose one to highlight. However, this song is one of my favorites on her newest cd, Where I Find You. It is so good to know that whatever we are going through, in whatever situation or age we find ourselves at, God is always there. We can always find Him right there with us. He never ever leaves, and we find Him on our knees.

Visit Kari Jobe’s website here :]

My Music Mondays {Jimmy Needham}

So, I want to start a new segment of my blog on Mondays featuring some of my favorite music. Music is so important to your life, and can help you grow in so many ways. Listening to Godly music is essential to spiritual growth, and can be such a powerful form of encouragement! There is so much good Christian music out there, and I have soo many favorites! So, even if you don’t seem to like my style at first, keep checking back on Mondays! You are bound to fall in love with at least one of these fantastic artists.

*****

My first Music Monday post will be….. drum roll…. Jimmy Needham. I just love him. If I could give you a list of my favorite Jimmy songs, it would include most every song He sings. He is so real with his lyrics, and his style is so fresh. He puts his heart and soul into every line. This song in particular is SO close to my heart and so relevant to Christians today. Many people go to church, and sing the songs, and get emotional in their worship, and then go out the church doors and live lives that do not glorify the God that they “worship.”

When I hear the word worship, I get flashbacks of my whole life. Worship to me is more than just songs and music, worship is a lifestyle. The original meaning of the word ‘worship’ is ‘a condition of being worthy, honored, or renown.’ Who is more worthy than God? He is a King, Friend, Lover, Servant, Keeper of hearts and Savior of souls. To me there will never be enough thanks, never enough words nor thoughts high or deep enough to adequately convey His worth. I don’t know how to give back to the Lord what He deserves other than to just offer Him my life and every part of me. To give Him my all, that’s my ultimate desire. Worship is more than a song.

I really hope you enjoy. Here is link to Jimmy’s website.. He also writes a fantastic blog. He is just one of my favorites of all time. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

http://www.jimmyneedham.com/

Relationship status: [STILL] Single.

This has been a question that has been asked to me very often especially lately so I thought I would wear my heart on my sleeve here and address it so that everyone will know…. and maybe be reminded,  learn, or be encouraged.

Q: How do you handle being single so well?

A:  hahahaha. Here we go.

There is no magical formula for making it easy “to be single,” and anyone who says that it is easy, is lying to you. God wants us to be content with all that He has given us, yes, however, God does not require us to achieve some super spiritual state of mind that is “content” with being single in order for Him to give us a significant other. For some people, that may very well happen, but for the vast majority, it is just not going to. If we are seeking Him, God has given us a desire to be married. God has placed those desires in everyone so that a man will GO out and pursue a woman, and make her his wife, and a girl will be happily pursued. It is completely normal to want to be married. Marriage is a system that God set up and ordained. God wants us to be married, and raise good families for His glory.

For His glory.

Yup. I think that’s the key, people. You see, I have come to the realization that if I could serve God better and bring Him more glory married, then, I would be married right now at this very moment. So even though sometimes I don’t like to admit it, God knows better than I do. I could try to convince Him otherwise all I want, but He knows the perfect timing for everything in our lives. If we are living to serve Him, then He will take care of it! Right now, you have a job to do. A job that could not be done if you were married. A job that will bring God the MOST glory if you do it now, while you are single. Figure out what you are supposed to be doing, and get busy doing it!

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:25-33

Get busy working toward things that really matter. Seek the kingdom FIRST, because even marriage is a temporary state that will eventually give way to the beautiful reality of what the picture points to- our relationship with Jesus Christ. He is enough, anyways. No one will truly complete you except Him.

“Jesus Christ – not guys [or girls]– must always remain the center of our existence. When we have a Christ-consumed heart, guys[or girls] no longer dominate our thinking, our actions, and our decisions. Rather, the Lover of our soul captivates us so completely that every guy we meet clearly sees that Jesus is, and always will be, the number one Prince of our heart. A truly godly man longs for a woman with a Christ-consumed heart.” -Leslie Ludy

I’d love to tell you that I am a spiritual giant who never struggles with loneliness or never looks up and says, “God, whatcha doin’??” Because, unfortunately, it’s not true, but the answer is simple.

Not easy, but simple.

Trust God.

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Do you believe that? Then tell yourself this everyday. We may know what looks “good” for us, but God knows what is BEST. The reason we are not supposed to lean on our own understanding is that we don’t really know what we are doing. However, HIS way is perfect.

As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. Psalm 18:30-32

He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. Psalm 145:19

Delight yourself also in the LORD; and he shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

No one is bigger or better than God. Period. Claim His promises. Find them! There are SO many! Our times are in His hands. He knows the beginning from the end. We know his timing is perfect.

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Don’t stop believing. Don’t stop praying. Don’t stop looking. Do stop stressing. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are running out of time. Because when God, who is the very Author of time, deems it right for you to fall in love and be married, then you will, and it will be magnificent.

Lastly, don’t settle. I will be single forever before I settle for someone who will not raise my family in all the standards of my God. Go to the Bible and find out all the qualities a man and woman of God is supposed to have. Be those things, and then, look for those things in others. Pray for God to direct your steps in everything, and He will fulfill the desires He has placed in you. If you long for a spouse with a Christ-centered heart, that desire is straight from God, and He has promised to fulfill it.

I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. Ecclesiastes 3:14

Stop worrying so much. Take heart, God knows what He is doing. He has a plan, and now is a part of that plan too. Don’t waste your time wishing things were different. Don’t settle for less than God’s best. Trust His timing. He is so so much bigger than your dreams, and His words are true. Don’t stop believing them. It will be worth it.

What are some of your other questions or topics you would like me to write about?

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Thank you!

Who, What, Where: a guest post by Ben Sebrell

I’m really excited to have a really great guy write a post for my blog! Super thankful for his encouraging heart, and his realness, always. His article has blessed me already, and I’m excited to share it with you. I am praying it is a blessing to you also. Love, thefulltimegirl

First of all, I’d like to say that I am honored and humbled to have been asked to write a guest post for thefulltimegirl. I’ve certainly enjoyed reading the stuff Lauren posts just like her other readers. With all of the garbage that is thrown in people’s faces on the internet, it’s pretty refreshing to be able to sit down and read something encouraging, challenging, and uplifting from an awesome Christian writer. So again, I’m honored, humbled, and for lack of a better term, pretty stoked to be able to do this!

With that being said, I’ll tell you guys a little about myself and then proceed from there. My name is Ben Sebrell. I’m 24 years old. I am currently in college for Web Development. I’ll be graduating in May, then going into Bible college to prepare for ministry.

I grew up in a Christian home (my Pop is a pastor), and got saved when I was 13 years of age. Literally the best day of my life. The only way I know how to describe it is to say it was like breathing air for the first time. And that’s pretty serious for me because I have asthma .

::praise break::

9 years later at the age of 22, I finally surrendered to preach after fighting it for several years. Second most liberating experience of my life. When I finally gave in to God’s will for my life, I found a sense of direction that I had been lacking for some time.

Since then, I’ve been learning a lot of different things about a lot of different things. I won’t say it’s all been easy peazy lemon squeezies, but it I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. God’s been good to me. In fact, He’s the only thing good IN me, and I’m thoroughly convinced that He’s all the good anyone could ever need.

Looking back over my life, it’s amazing to see how God orchestrated everything in a way that only He could. Every struggle, trial, test, and even temptation has served a purpose. He knew me before there WAS a me, and had specific plans for me. Just like the prophet Jeremiah, I believe He has plans for all of His children. He has a purpose just for you.

“And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.” John 1:42: KJV

Now, you might be thinking…”Uuuuuuuuh…did this dude just through a random Bible verse into the middle of this post?”. Let me assure, I have been known to be pretty random at times, but this verse ties directly into what I’ve been writing about. Let’s break it down, and open it up a little, shall we?

This verse is taken from John’s account of the calling of the first disciples of Christ. More specifically, this verse tells of Jesus’ being introduced to Simon by his brother, Andrew. Now, this verse seems pretty minute in terms of theological quantity at first glance, but there is SO MUCH to be seen here.

1. “..And when Jesus behled him, he said, Thou art Simon…”.
How amazing is it that Jesus knew EXACTLY who Simon was? Think with me for a minute. A lot of times, people read Bible stories and forget that these were REAL people. These things ACTUALLY happened! So put yourself in Simon’s shoes…or sandals rather.

You see your brother walking up the street with a man you’ve never met before. The man looks at your for a second, and calls you by name. Chances are, one of two things is going through your mind. Either your brother told this man about you on the way over, or this guy makes a lucky guess. Either way, he knows who you are upon seeing you.

It’s so encouraging to know that we have a God who knows each and every one of us. He never gets us confused with one another. He takes time to be good to all of us even though none of us will ever deserve that goodness. God knows your name, and the day He met you, He called you…by name…into a new a glorious life– a new reality.

I can’t speak for anybody else, but when I look at me, and then look at what God has revealed to me about Himself through His Word, I know I could never even dream of earning or deserving His company or companionship. And yet, He tells me in His Word that He’ll never leave me or forsake me. He calls me his friend. He calls me His child. He knows me. He loves me, and there’s nothing that could ever change that.

Just like Christ knows me, He knew Simon…but it didn’t stop there…

2. “…the son of Jona…”
Now, again. Think with me. This man you’ve never met not only calls you by your name. He goes on to call your dad’s name. This tells me that Jesus not only knew who Simon WAS, but He also knew where Simon CAME FROM.

The day God met you and saved you, He didn’t just know who you were at the moment in time, He knew everything about you BEFORE that moment in time. He didn’t just know the here and now. He knew the there and then. He knew the good, the bad, the ugly, and the everything in between.

Again, I can only speak for me here, but to think that God, in His Sovereign Holiness, could look at me and know not just the sin that was in my life presently, but EVERY sin I had ever committed, and STILL love me enough to want to hold me in His arms blows my mind…every time. The amazing grace of God wrecks me, and it ought to wreck you too!

Who among us has anything to boast about? The Bible tells us that even what we perceive to be our own righteousness is nothing but filthy rags at the feet our our King. To think that God could look at us, see our filthy rags, both past and present, and still offer to us salvation through His Son– the greatest expression of love mankind has ever known, ought to literally bring us to our knees and faces in humble awe and adoration.

Christ knew who Simon was, and where he came from, but it keeps going…

3. “…Thou shalt be called Cephas…”
So you meet this man who somehow knows who you are. On top of that, he knows where you came from and what you’ve been through. But then…he tells you that he’s basically going to give you a new name! Seriously…think about it! What would be going through your mind at this point.

Now, I don’t know what all Simon was thinking by now. The Bible doesn’t really record much about it. However, I do know this. The beginning of John 1:42 tells us that before Jesus ever spoke a word to Simon, He beheld him. He saw him. And again, the Bible does not record this, but I believe with all of my heart that when Jesus and Simon locked eyes, Simon saw a love that he had never seen before. I believe Jesus looked at Simon with the same compassion He did when He saw the multitudes in Matthew 9:36.

I mean, we know how the rest of the story goes, right? Simon and the other disciples literally dropped everything and followed Christ. These were real men with real jobs. And yet, when Christ saw and spoke to them, nothing in that moment was able to keep away from the compelling love of the Savior. Imagine how it must have been to physically and literally see the arms and eyes of love! Wow!

Getting back to the main point, Jesus basically tells Simon that He’s going to be called Cephas from now on. This tells me that Jesus not only knew who SImon was, and where he came from, but He also saw what Simon COULD and WOULD be! Now here’s where I start to lose my composure a little bit (in a good way)!

God knows me, and where I’ve come from, what I’ve been through, and everything I’ve done. And someway…somehow He looks at me says, “I can use you if you are willing to follow me.” Not only does good love each of us and know each of us, but He can USE each of us as instruments and tools to carry His plan! I have NO clue how or why a perfect God would want to use an imperfect me, but (pardon my vernacular)…I’m down with that!

Look, I don’t have all of the answers. I’m the farthest thing from perfect I can think of. I’ve failed Him more times that I will ever care to try and remember, but I know that He who begat a good work in me will be faithful to complete it if I stay faithful to Him. I’m not sure what God sees in me, but I know He sees something, and that motivates me to keep pressing forward no matter what. He sees and knows what I can be, and if He can see it, I want Him to have it. It’s that simple!

You know, a lot of time, people come down on Simon Peter pretty hard. I mean, we always hear about the time where he practically put his foot– toes heels and ankles in his mouth on the Mount of Transfiguration. Then there’s the the time when he cut off a man’s ear trying to “defend” Jesus. Everybody knows that one, and personally, I think he was aiming for that dude’s neck and the guy saw it and dodged it. And THEN there’s the time where he claimed he would be willing to die for Christ only to turn around and deny him three times in one night.

When you look at stories like these, it’s easy to be think Simon Peter was kind of a hot-headed loser. However, that’s not all there is to Simon Peter. Yea, he made some mistakes, but we can’t forget about what happened in Acts chapter 2. Simon preached on the Day of Pentecost and 3,000 souls were saved! And if you think that’s worth a shout, look over in the very next chapter and read about how 5,000 came to know Christ after the lame man at the temple gates was healed! That’s a total of at least 8,000 souls that came to salvation as a result of Simon Peter’s boldness for Christ. That same hot-headed passion that got him in trouble so often was the very thing God used to draw 8,000 people to Himself! How awesome is it to think that God can even use our FLAWS for His honor and glory? Only God can pull something that incredible off!

::another praise break::

There is a God who knows you inside and out. He knows the whole story. He WROTE the whole story. And He wants to use you. He has a purpose–a specific plan for your life. It doesn’t matter how far gone you think you are, or how hopeless you feel like your situation is. He desires nothing more than for you to put your heart and life into His hands and give Him complete control. He knows who you are. He knows where you come from and what you’ve been through. And He sees and knows what you can be for furtherance of the Gospel. Are you willing to follow Him like Simon and the disciples did? Are you willing to pursue the Face of He who pursued you with His love?

#YOLO

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

The trend is “you only live once.” Sadly people view it as a license to foolishness. They act on their desires without regard to consequences. “We are young.” It doesn’t matter what we do…. we can pay the consequences later. Nothing matters but the here and now so you should live for the moment. You only live once. Do what you feel and do what you want.

Regardless of the reasons the statement is made, Satan would love to have you believe this is true and that sin is harmless. That the consequences are minimal in the long run, especially since YOLO. It really is just another way to rock the world to sleep in his arms, especially the young people. Act up, life’s a party, and it only happens once.

However, Jesus has plenty to say about only living once.

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. James 4:14

You only have one life. You only get one chance. In this big world, you only get to leave so many footprints. Where are they going to lead? It is your choice, and especially now while “we are young,” to decide how we will live our lives. How we will live this world for the generation after us. We need to have a goal, and as Christians, it is Christ.

Charles Spurgeon said, “You will not be a very good sea captain if you do not know which port you are sailing for.”

See then, that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

Some say that time is your most valuable possession, and it is the thing most often wasted. Can’t we please grab hold of this thought? Time is so important. You only live once. You only have one now. One today. One chance to impact the people around you that are in your life for such a brief period of time. What are you doing with your time? The concept of YOLO is NOT to go out and party and drink and make an idiot of yourself. It is you only live once, so do something that matters. Make a difference. Make your steps last.

Truth is, life is short. Eternity isn’t.

And while we only have one life here on earth, there is a life after this. What are we doing for that life? What are you laying up for yourself? What we do here matters a lot in the scope of eternity. Not only for the rewards that we will receive to lay at our Savior’s feet, but for the people we will impact here on earth FOR the next life.

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us i the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he should no longer live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 1 Peter 4:1-2

The only thing you can take to heaven with you is people. Eternity is not short for the unsaved either, and selfishness at the core is to keep a secret of Jesus Christ, and the light that you have inside of you. For the Christian, that IS our life! Jesus is everything, and we live not to ourselves, but to Jesus Christ, and to see other people come to know Him so that they can also spend the next life in heaven, instead of an eternity in hell. We just celebrated Easter, but do we live everyday like Jesus is alive? He can come back at any moment, and that should be at the forefront of our minds. Jesus is alive! And Jesus is coming back soon! I want to be busy when He comes living a life to please Him.

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake our of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Romans 13:11-12

It is a sacrifice to live for eternity. It is easy to live for your own desires, and live for only the now. But Jesus calls Christians to concern themselves with things beyond today, beyond tomorrow, and beyond this life. He calls us to lay our dreams and selfish ambitions on the altar, and give up the world for the Kingdom.

Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. selah. Surely every man that walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them. And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee. Psalm 39:4-7

Our lives are so limited. We only live once…here on earth. “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” What will they say after you are gone? What will God say when you stand before Him? We have to impact the world for Christ. We are called to make a difference for the Kingdom, because therein is our life measured. This is not just an offer on the table, it is a calling and a command. You only live once. Others will follow after you.

Make your one life count for Christ.

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