fully known

Isn’t it amazing how the memory works?  I was sitting outside this morning for coffee and Bible study, and it felt as though fall was already in the air.  Now for those of you that do not live in Mississippi or have never been here and experienced the heat and humidity… let me tell you… a cool morning in August is RARE!  But all of a sudden, I found myself going back to my freshman year of college and that feeling of  walking to class on sidewalks covered with colorful leaves.  I remembered that exciting and scary place of self-discovery, desiring to find myself in that new place among those new people.

And that’s when it hit me this morning: even then in the midst of trying to get to know myself fully, I was already fully known…

1 Corinthians 13.12

Isn’t the thought of being fully known so incredible?  Imagine someone knowing and understanding all of your thoughts, motives, desires, actions, strengths, weaknesses, dreams, ambitions, struggles, insecurities, pet peeves, joys, accomplishments, secrets.  Let’s go even further though… someone that knows every freckle on your skin, every hair on your head, every cell in your body, every fiber of your being…

That someone is God.

If you are reading this post now and are skeptical about what I have just written, my questions for you are, “Why not?” and “How not?”  Even after the seeking and searching to find yourself, know that there is hope.  Amidst the uncertainty, there is certainty; there is a blessed assurance.  There is an Almighty God that gave us our abilities and proved our worth through the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ.

If you’re a believer reading this post, my questions for you are also, “Why not?” and “How not?”  Why not live even more freely through faith and trust in the forgiveness that we have received through Jesus.  Why not eagerly confess our sins and share our truest emotions with God?  After all, He already knows them anyways!  It’s just an exercise of trust and a measure taken in order to fall deeper and deeper in love with Him.  With this all in mind, how could we not draw closer to the God that has called us sons and daughters in His kingdom?

 

Proverbs 16:20-21 says,

“Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good,

and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.

The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.”

Consider God’s word this morning.  Discover good, and receive his blessing through trusting him!  He knows us fully because HE is the one that designed every bit of who we are.  Isn’t the sweetness of His words persuasive?

Today I will leave you with these questions to think about… If we truly believe and trust that God has forgiven us because of Jesus dying for our sins, then why not confess all of our sins to our just and merciful Father?  Why try to find our identity in anything other than the One that already knows exactly who we are and who He has called us to be?

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Let’s make disciples!

So you became a believer by the grace of God, and you are certain that Jesus is your only way to the Father.  He is your source of joy, hope, peace, strength, and so much more!  Even in the hard times of life, you will be renewed in the hope that He will restore His people.  “Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.  Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert” (Isaiah 35:6).

So what do we do next?  Inspired and compelled by His redeeming love, we can’t just keep this life-changing relationship with Jesus to ourselves… Surely we must share the reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15).  We must be prepared in and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).  After all, isn’t this what Jesus has commanded us to do?  Let’s look at his words from Matthew.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

What an incredible truth!  There are sooo many things to point out here.  The most recent realization that I had about this passage though, came a few weekends ago in a sermon.  When Pastor Tim at NBC read this passage of scripture, he stopped and said, “Look, did Jesus say that we need to go and make converts?  No, he told us to make disciples!”

What he is referring to through this statement is that we are not called to see how many people that we can “win to/for Jesus.”  Instead, we must seek to grow and develop these new believers, so that they will also go out and live for the cause of Christ.

Over the next few days, I’ll be praying that the Lord would reveal ways that I need to invest in others–both non-believers and believers!  Hopefully you will join me in this prayer, as well.  We can pray while walking around the office building, walking to class, looking through the contacts in our phones, and so many other places.

It’s been such a joy to write to you again.  I pray that God would draw near to you and that you would feel the light of His love and mercy shining upon you.  Remember… the victory has already been won.  We know the end of the story, so let’s live by that confidence that we now have through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! (Hebrews 6:17-20)

Praying your day is filled with SONshine,

Sarah. signature

“Here I raise my Ebenezer…”

We can be such forgetful people, right?  Well today I have a project for us all to do.  The first step is this: go outside and pick up a rock.

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I’ve got mine, and I hope you grabbed one too!  Here’s why I asked you to do this.

Because we are forgetful people, we need reminders.  We have alarm clocks to wake us up in morning.  We have timers to let us know when the cookies are done in the oven.  We even have stomachs that will growl to let us know that it’s time to eat.  After all, who can honestly work at something with full effort and concentration while his stomach is saying, “Hey man, I’m hungry… grrrRRRrrRRRRrrrrr!”

So what is our reminder about God and His reign over our lives?  In the midst of our day, what do we do or what do we have that stops us and reminds us of God’s constant presence?

from: http://www.dodsonlumber.com/Acts242/

For the Israelites, they set up an “Ebenezer.”  This account in 1 Samuel tells how God protected the Israelites from their enemies, the Philistines.  After the great show of God’s mighty power and goodness, Samuel set up a stone in that place and named it Ebenezer as a reminder of how the Lord had been their help thus far (1 Samuel 7:5-12).

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So today, I’m making my own ebenezer and encourage you to do it too!  Keep in mind the following VERY important points:

  • Only faith in the Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior leads to salvation (see Ephesians 2:4-10)
  • Works alone do not save us or make us more acceptable to God (Philippians 3:7-9, Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • Intercession on our behalf is performed by the Spirit of God dwelling within believers (Romans 8:26).
  • An object (or person or ideal) becomes an idol whenever we place trust in it and give adoration to it

No object, even a rock with a biblical name like “Ebenezer” or a “prayer rug”–like the one I received in the mail the other day–can bring us closer to God.  Only Jesus is the way to the Father (John 14:6).   So here’s a warning–In the moment that you or I rely on the rock (or anything else) as a means to access God, throw it away!

While we’re at it, here’s another heads up. If you are saved (see Ephesians 1:13-14), the Holy Spirit is the one that marks you as a child of God and communicates with Him on your behalf.  Carrying a rock around as a reminder of God’s word does not belittle the Holy Spirit’s presence or the position that He has in your life.  This is true as long as you use the ebenezer with the same purpose as Samuel: to be a reminder of God’s goodness and supremacy.

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Above are some of the verses that I’ve written on mine so far!  Read through your Bible and write down verses that seem to be especially true and convicting in this season of your life.   Maybe even keep that piece of paper with you and make it a goal to memorize the verses on it.  After all, the Psalmist writes…

“How can a young man keep his way pure?

By guarding it according to your word.  

With my whole heart I seek you;

let me not wander from your commandments!  

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

Psalm 119: 9-11

Christ be with you!

Praying your day is filled with SONshine,

Sarah. signature