Source: Hope Amongst the Rubble
I went to a worship service for college students tonight in Denton, TX. At the end of it, we sang “From the Inside Out”. A song I have sang in church a dozen and one times, but there’s a line in the song that struck me tonight. It says “your will above all else, my purpose remains, the art of losing myself in bringing you praise”,
The art of losing myself. The art. That word choice.
1. the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form; producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power
2. various branches of creative activity
3. subjects of study primarily concerned with the processes and products of human creativity and social life
4. a skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice
Yeah, I looked up the definition, come at me bro. #wordnerd
Losing ourselves to praise God is an art. In a way, it’s all of these definitions of the word. Its an expression and application of praise. It’s not our own creative skill or imagination though, it’s God’s (thus praise). It’s expressed in various means. It’s a process; a beautiful, lifelong process. Its a product, but not of human doings, but of knowing Jesus. It’s acquired through practice, or rather, the daily act.
Romans 7: 22-25 talk about how, as humans, we tend to do the things we hate. We wage battle against our flesh, but praise be to Christ, because He’s won that war. Lamentations 3:22-23 tell us His mercies are new every morning. Because of these new mercies, we have the ability to lose ourselves in this art form. John 3:30 tells us we must decrease and He must increase. Colossians 3:1-7 tells us how we can do so, by stripping off what is messy and putting on what is glorifying.
Losing yourself to Christ; Him increasing while we decrease is an art. It’s a daily expression and application of praise expressed through various moments in life daily. It’s not a one time deal. It’s a daily walk with Jesus. That’s our purpose: Relationship with God through Jesus, glorifying Him. Out of that comes everything else.
I am humbled by the my lack of artistic ability in this department. I’m no Van Gogh when it comes to losing myself to Christ, I feel like I’m still in the finger painting stages. Honestly lately, I have struggled with laziness with God. I could list the reasons why laziness has come about, but they don’t matter. This ugly piece of me right now is inhibiting my daily life with Jesus, as well as allowing me to step into other junk. Just like with any art form, the beauty comes in the progression of the work. The gospel and reminding myself who Jesus is and what He did for me on the cross, as well as resting in the knowledge that the same power that rose Jesus from the grave is living in me is the drive to defeat laziness, or whatever the sin that happens to be tripping me up may be. I know this isn’t a very long, in depth, or deep theological post. Truthfully, this was just for me and writing is the best way for me to gather my thoughts, but nevertheless I hope God uses it to strike a chord with you as He did with me. Strip off whatever is keeping you from Jesus and leave it at the foot of the cross!
How many times in church, VBS, or while we are worshiping are we reminded of Genesis 1:1
“In the beginning God created the heavens and earth.”
Everywhere we look we see signs of beautiful things God also created when he created mankind. Wouldn’t that make us beautiful as well? Absolutely, but so many times people don’t see this. Society today demands that we be ten times faster, stronger, and prettier than we were yesterday. In such a fast changing world it gets harder and harder to keep up. What are we missing then?
We tend to forget that “He counts the stars and calls them all by name.” (Psalms 146:4). What this tells me is that God created us all with PURPOSE. He planned out each and everything that has and will happen to me in my lifetime. God knew what challenges I was going to face, he planned for…
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Alrighty so I’m a Doctor Who fan. I recently just finished up season 7 with Clara-the Impossible Girl-as the Doctor’s current companion. As I was writing my last post about how nothing about Jesus humanly makes sense and the impossible is possible with him, it got me thinking about how he is our Impossible Man, just as Clara is the Doctor’s Impossible Girl. Allow me to explain.
WARNING. If you have not seen Season 7-do not continue to read. Spoilers!!
Clara was everywhere. Jesus is everywhere. Just as with the Doctor, any pickle we find ourselves in, Jesus is there and always has been. We don’t always realize it, but as we look back-you can see His hand in your life and all up in that business. That is a huge part of my testimony. I did not give God the time of day, but as I glance back on life now, I realize He was there the whole time and always will be.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. -Joshua 1:9
‘I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. -Leviticus 26:12
“The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:8
…I am with you always, even to the end of the age. -Matthew 28:20
Clara’s purpose was to save the Doctor. Jesus’ is our Savior, saving us from our sins. Jesus was born to be the Savior of the world.
For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. -Isaiah 9:6
For God so love the world that He gave His one and only son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. -John 3:16
God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. -2 Corinthians 5:12
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. -Isaiah 43:2
There is no logical explanation as to why Clara should have still been alive. Since she jumped into the Doctor’s time stream thingy, it should have ripped her to pieces, but she survived to save to the Doctor. There is not a logical explanation as to why Jesus should be alive. He was given a criminal’s death-crucified on a cross and stabbed in the side just to make sure the deed had been done. Yet, three days later He rose again and is now seated in heaven next to His father and He’ll make his grand entrance back to Earth oen day.
He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ -Luke 24:6-7
After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. -Mark 16:19
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. -John 14:1-3
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. -Revelation 22:10
Nothing about Jesus is scientifically, humanly speaking “logical”. We serve an “impossible” Lord who can do the impossible. He was born from a virgin mother. He’s defeated the undefeatable-death. He loves us unconditionally, enough to die an undeserved death and take the punishment for the world’s sins. The Doctor had Clara, his impossible girl. We’ve got Jesus, our Impossible Man. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take it!
I recently read this article titled, “23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23”. Normally, I don’t read these as they are usually written in an in-your-face-I-can-do-what-I-want tone. For whatever reason, I read this article, perhaps because I am 24 and not married and I was curious as to why 23 was the magic number. Unfortunately, the article is pretty much the same, lame advice for twenty-somethings, written by twenty-somethings whose sum total of advice is “17. Eat a Jar of Nutella is one sitting.” I didn’t think much about it until I saw at least 3 people repost it on Facebook.
I don’t know about you, but if the highlight of my life (outside of marriage???) before I’m 23 is to eat a jar of Nutella or “22. Be selfish” then I think marriage to anyone sounds pretty good.
My goal for life as a single…
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1. Coming to the door to pick someone up.
I think we’ve all had it with the incredibly unromantic “here” text, and meeting up always seems to be more casual and platonic than the alternative. Of course, meeting someone from online or any circumstance like that would probably be the exception to this rule, but generally: the 30 seconds it takes to get out of a car or cab and knock on the door makes a huge difference.
2. Trying to dress really nicely for a date.
“Nicely” means different things for different people, so I think it’s just a matter of putting effort into how you put yourself together to go out with someone. It’s not about wearing suits and petticoats again, but just realizing that, whether or not we like to accept it, appearance does count for something, and we should do our best to make sure that…
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When the worship band plays my favorite song on Sunday morning…but for reals.
Hey readers! Ok so I started a study on Romans today. I’ve just been really convicted lately that I have been slackin as a Christian and I need to step up my game. My Jesus dates (quiet times) have been not up to par and I haven’t really been invested, so I decided to really start digging in and studying.
Romans was written by Paul around AD 58. My Bible says that at this time, Paul was in Corinth and planning to go to Rome. He wrote this letter to introduce himself to the church there. This is his most structured letter. He opens up in Romans 1:1-7 stating giving a brief synopsis of the Gospel and why he has chosen to write to them.
Something that really struck home with me was how in the very beginning of this chapter, in verse 12, he says, “I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.” Well, well, well, lookey what we got here-discipleship!! He don’t mess around. He gets right to the point of his ministry. Investing in others growth and discipleship. (Which is probably why he is writing all these letters).
Now here comes the boom: “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes-the Jews first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” (verse 16-18).
“For I am not ashamed”-bold statement. Can we say the same? Have you ever in hushed tones said you were at church? Do you openly talk to your friends about your faith? Do you talk to strangers about Jesus? Slap in da face. Plain and simple, the Good News tells us what to do-we have been given the life manual for life. It is through faith and the power of God that we can do anything.
Verse 20 reveals, “ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made they can clearly see his invisible quality-his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” Sunsets, clouds and starry nights are some of my favorite beauties in the world and favorite things to admire. All of these; the sun rising, flowers blooming, the water cycle-all evidentiary support to the Creator. It says right there, we have no excuse not to believe. We know the truth, why are we not sharing it and why are we acting ashamed??
Verse 25-“They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshipped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise!” This was a total slap to the left the temple. How often do we worship things that God has created instead of God himself?!
The dictionary definitions of worship are:
-the act of showing love and respect for a god
-a form of religious practice with its creed or ritual
-extravagant respect, admiration, or devotion to an object
Keeping these in mind, what are some things that we show love and respect for, hold to high standards as we do a god or idol? What are some things that we do ritualistically? What are some objects that we have an admiration and devotion towards?
To name a few personally-friends and family, school, work. These aren’t bad things-they were created by God, BUT am I putting them before God? That is the constant question I need to ask myself.
If we continue to put other things and worship things besides God, we are deemed as, “backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful” (verse 30) . Not exactly a list of happy adjectives or things little kids dream of being when they grow up. In verse 32, is says that “they know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway.” As stated earlier in reference to verse 17-we know these things. We know what to do and what not do. We have no excuses, so why do we consistently insists on doing the complete opposite of what God has said?
In Romans 1, Paul is not ashamed and he understands what it takes to walk this walk. We know and understand too-we’ve been given the life manual, but do we always follow the instructions or are we more like the people in verses 18-32? We claim Christ, but do we really live life like we have given up the reigns? Are we stepping out? Am I stepping out? No-I’ve been slacking hard core. I don’t want to be like verse 32, I want to live out verses 16-18. I have to get the basics down and learn to get out of my world and fully live out these words I profess other than underlining and highlighting in my Bible, pinning on Pinterest and posting them as my Facebook status. If I’m not working at living them, all they are, are empty words from a hypocritical mouth. Is that how I want to be remembered? Is that how I want to portray Christ? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
As I start this study and fully focus my sights on running towards God, I want Romans 1:16 to be my mantra. No more cowardly Christian, I will be a bold Christian giving it all to God, because I am not ashamed of the Gospel. I am not ashamed to say that I am a sinner, I have screwed up, and I have been redeemed by God through the blood of His son Jesus Christ. I am not ashamed to say that I don’t have it all figured out and I am far from, but God is revealing himself more and more to me and I’m growing more and more every day. I am not ashamed to say that there are no excuses anymore.