Tough Words Of Hope

I’ve been reading through Luke recently as a refresher on the gospel and Christ’s finished work on the cross. I’m a little more than halfway through and have noticed a lot of things Christ said that made me have to read again.

In today’s age Jesus seems to have become more of a cultural figure, a “nice guy” if you will. And many Christians, (myself included) tend to default in my and our brains to a Jesus with flowing hair, a soft voice, and nothing to say that would make me too uncomfortable, after all he was talking to Pharisees and not me, right?

Well through this bit of a refresher its honestly been hard to wake up and read what our Lord’s words because, honestly they show me (in many cases very directly to my issues) how radical a life in love with Jesus really looks like.

Love my enemies? I have a hard time loving some people at Church! Take up my cross? Go into the world as Lambs among Wolves and proclaim repentance to all? Be perfect as He is perfect…?

It’s impossible. Literally impossible.

Paul says in Romans 8 that those in the flesh cannot please God. So the starting point is repentance and faith in Christ, if we are covered by His blood bought sacrifice then we can please God.

But pleasing God is only brought about by Christ’s work in us, so on our own, we can’t please God. But because of His finished work on the Cross, Christ payed for our sins so God could look at us and see Christ, not our sin anymore.

Though His words are very sobering and challenging, I know that any obedience and accomplishment from following what Christ commanded is only done through Christ in me.

So its not my own goodness that pleases God, it’s Christ finished work that does. And through that accomplishment it overflows into glad obedience to what all of scripture calls us to do and be. And even though I’m far from perfect, I’m so glad God sees Christ instead of my filth, He sees hope instead of despair, He sees life instead of death.

Some Resources For You!

I decided, because I had to go and update my auto insurance (which took a decent chunk out of my normal writing time) to give you all a list of awesome resources I have found invaluable in my walk with Christ, below are links and pictures, enjoy!

(click on the pictures for the link)

Desiring God
-For everything related to The Bible and life, plumb the depths of their many articles and sermons!
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Bible Gateway
-A great resource for looking up and reading scripture!

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Plugged In
-When it comes to new movies, it’s hard to tell how crude it’s going to be. Plugged In gives you every instance of Sexuality, Cussing, and anything else before you even watch it!

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Downcast (APP)
-The BEST podcasting app i’ve ever found, though it’s only on iOS, the interface is clean and easy to use. I found ALL of the sermons I listen to and easily download them daily. I great tool for sermon and teaching consumption.

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How Can We Overcome Heart Issues?

So I was working downstairs this morning for about an hour (for my families business) and a thought had struck me as I was listening to Grace To You (John MacArthur’s sermon podcast). The sermon was called “The Sufficiency of Scripture“.
I can’t recommend it enough! He covers so many biblical reasons for the Bible being all we need for “life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).

ImageAnd so a thought passed through my head.

I have a very hard time not looking to myself for answers. Sure, a lot of the time I have a verse ready to remedy a situation, but so many times I use a verse as a quick “self help” and not a heart-changing truth. The sermon this morning opened my eyes even more to how sufficient Scripture really is.
I understand how easy it is to trust yourself and your gut for the answer, but I’m ever so quickly realizing that my own impulses don’t hold heart-changing answers to my problems.
My thoughts may make a quick-fix and solve something for awhile, but the heart issue is still highly unresolved.

One of my highlighted verses this past summer as I worked at River of Life (a local christian summer camp) was from Jeremiah 17:9, 

“The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?”

Seems like a weird summer camp verse right? Not very lighthearted and encouraging? Well, I’d been struggling with some specific heart issues, and this verse constantly reminded me not to trust myself, because I’m by default an extremely self-relying, and not a God-relying person. I don’t like the selfish, independent streak in me, but i recognize it is there, and i knew something must be done about it.

So my real question as i was doing ministry those months was “how can i remedy this?”. And that question still holds true to me today as i still struggle, as we all do, with things of the heart.

So I did the right thing. I found a verse that was direct and concise, and applied it to my situation. The big idea being, “Don’t trust you, trust me”. And it really remedied my heart and began to change it.

How you may ask? The Word of God. The only thing that speaks to the heart and changes from the inside out, not the shallow outside advice I’m always tempted to read and apply. (Although i’m not saying don’t accept godly advice, just as long as the biblical principle is there).

So I’m a living example of the power of change that the Holy Spirit can bring through His word. I can say with certainty that Iv’e tried to think differently, to “be” different, to want differently, but it was all outward.
Once we begin to seek Christ at His Word can we begin to see a heart change. Only then can our desires become His desires, our wants His wants, and all of this through Christ and His saving work on The Cross. I’m living proof of this!

2nd Corinthians 5:17 says:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

A new creation. Brand new. The old gone, the new has come.

In Christ we’re made new. A clean slate, a washed heart, a clear conscience. All through The Cross. The payment for our sins.
Check out John 19-20. Our savior lives! How encouraging is that?!

Thanks for reading! I appreciate every view, every like, and every follower immensely! Thanks so much.