Because You Need A Pep Talk

*** I wrote this almost a year ago, but I figured the beginning of a new year was a good time to repost. What better way to start off than with a pep talk? I hope you find this encouraging. Happy 2016!*** 

It had been a hard week...a week full of lies to myself and a hurting heart. I turned my music up, sang truths to my heart, and prayed that God would give me rest ... "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Two nights before God planted that verse in my mind knowing I would need it. I prayed, He answered, and that night I decided I needed to give myself a pep talk. Too often we're hesitant to see our worth as God sees us and to remind ourselves of who we truly are in Christ. We might do this for a number of reasons...sometimes because we desire humility. Sometimes because we simply don't believe there's anything good to list. Sometimes we struggle to see ourselves as He sees us because somehow we find pain, loneliness, and sadness a thing too easy to dwell in, as if it's almost comfortable in some way. Thus, pep talks are few and far between, but we all need them. You need them

Here's a pep talk for your Monday, your Tuesday, your Wednesday, and...well, every day of your life because nothing on this list will ever change.

You are beautiful... You don't need your girlfriends or some guy to tell you this. Stop listening to society broadcasting lies that say you aren't and choose to listen to Christ.  You wouldn't follow every single fashion choice, hair cut, or makeup routine declared beautiful so why let society define you at all? Society does a horrible job of defining beauty...you are so much better than anything they could ever say about you...bad or good.

You are loved ...so, so much. It doesn't matter the number of people that tell you this or even the degree to which they mean it... God loves you bigger and better. There's no doubt about it, so don't listen to anyone or anything try to tell you otherwise. "...that you, being rooted and grounded in love may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge..." (Ephesians 3:17-19).

You are forgiven... You sins are nailed to the cross by the One who gave his life for you (Colossians 2:14).

You have guts... Let's face it, life is hard. But hey, life is really, really, really good too. I have no clue what you may be going through, but I know God promises strength. Trust Him in that. He's never failed, and He won't start now...or ever.

You are blessed... If you're able to read this you have greater advantages than the majority of the world. Your life is amazing. Never forget that.

You are not boring... Sometimes your interests and passions are different than those of your friends and you may feel like you're boring or weird, but God has given you your passions for a reason. Dream big, do big. Also, sometimes it's hard to hold true to your convictions when everyone else around you seems to be doing the opposite. Never be ashamed of convictions. It doesn't mean you're a better person, but it doesn't mean you're boring or naive either. God has made you the person you are for a reason and there will be people who respect that. When you struggle with this just read Galatians 1:10.

You are God's child... He chose you (Ephesians 1:4). He prays for you (Romans 8:26). He holds you (Isaiah 41:10). He rejoices over you (Zephaniah 3:17).

You are known... From your waking thought, the tears streaming as you're driving down the highway, your laughter, your steady breathing at night, your sparkling eyes, your make-up free face, your tomorrow... Jesus knows it all and gave His all because even while fully knowing you... He loves you.

You are valuable... You are a treasure. You are more valuable than a diamond in the rough... you are priceless. Nothing, I repeat, nothing can destroy your worth. God says you are His (1 Peter 2:9-10). You are forgiven. You were died for. You were wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Nothing can change that. God said, and it is so.

You were created... There is no accident in the fact that you were born. Before anyone even knew to think of you, God did. He planned you. He loved you before time, loves you in this moment, and will love you all of eternity. Just think, after all this time you finally get to love Him back. --This is actually a great song that you should listen to, here--

Today is a new day. Crush the lies of the Destroyer.

Dwell in truth.

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Loving and Living the Here and Now

I saw this picture on Pinterest recently and it made me stop and think. I feel like this message is something God has been trying to teach me lately.

A little over two weeks from when I'm writing this I will have graduated high school, finished my first year of college (dual-enrollment), second-shot my second wedding, and will be on a plane flying to the other side of the world. Needless to say it's going to be a busy couple weeks, but the past few months have hardly been less busy.

In all the busyness it's been easy to wish that I could skip this part of my life. I've wished for the days to come faster before I leave on my trip or that I could even skip the next few years of my college life and already be done with it all. I really just want to be done with school. I can't wait to be able to put more of my time and energy into my job that I love so much. But God has been teaching me thankfulness during this time.

Thankfulness is a word that has been going through my mind a lot lately. It's also been showing up in my devotionals and Bible, so I'm guessing I should take a hint. God is awesome in the way that He finds just the right words to speak to me at just the right time. He always knows what to say, and exactly when to say it.

Paul tells us that we are supposed to be thankful in all circumstances, which is mind-blowing. During the good times it's easy to be thankful, but the hard times are...hard. But God works everything out for good (Romans 8:28). The bad times teach us to depend on God, and the good times remind us of His love for us. Don't waste your life away wishing for the weekend, for this test to be over, or summer to come. There are so many reasons to be thankful for this moment you're living in right now. Love the story God is writing right now! You never know what incredible things could happen in the next five minutes, and even if nothing happens God is still there, still waiting for you with open arms. This day you wish would be over or the test you can't stand studying for is just a sentence in the story God is writing. Make it a sentence of thankfulness and joy. Even if every earthly thing is crumbling around you, God is here and He is faithful. Use the hard times to cling ever so closely to Him, trusting that He is on your side.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
— Romans 8:31

It Is Good

Good Friday.

The day that seems anything but "good."

The day the Son of our Maker and King had to die for us because all throughout history, ever since the bite from the forbidden fruit, we wanted our way. The Son knew our sinful nature would not change in the future. In fact the sin, our cancer by choice, would only become more prevalent. He became the cure so that the sin of the past, present, and future could be erased.

And we cry, "give us Barabbas!" Give us money. Give us comfort. Give us hatred. Give us pride. Give us our chains.

...instead of give us grace.

But because God is our Maker and King, He chose to give what is best for us.

In our sinful nature, we don't want Jesus. But that bite in the fruit couldn't completely destroy who we were created to be. We were created in God's image with souls that will never be satisfied apart from Him.

Not with money. Not with comfort. Not with hatred. Not with pride. Not with our chains.

Only with grace. Our Maker and King knew this.

He spoke and light flooded the darkness. He spoke and the waters were filled with sea creatures. He spoke and stars the number of Abraham's descendants filled the sky. He spoke and the moon reflected the sun. He spoke and the sky was filled with earth's own flying music-makers.

Yet He breathed and the breath of life filled you and me.

And after each day, He saw that it was good.

Fast-forward about 4,000 years. Unconditional love, amazing grace, and unfailing mercy are all chapter headings for the greatest love story, one you and I are invited to be apart of:

"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down His life for His friends.

Spoken by the Greatest Love Himself. Many throughout history have died for their friends, but the Greatest Love died for His friends' and enemies' souls.

Perfect Love.

Six days of creation, and it was good. Then we ruined it and let sin pour into this world.

But God.

Everything about Him is good. He will not let Satan have the final victory. So about 2,000 years ago on this day, unconditional love, amazing grace, and unfailing mercy collided and there on a cross the Greatest Love, the Perfect Love, died for you and me.

And it is good.

The sin of our past, present, and future has been erased. Forgiven. Forgotten.

The same breath that breathed life into us took His final breath forgiving us:

"It is finished."

And, praise God, it is good because the story doesn't end there. 

The third day came.