Sunday, September 21, 2014

Help Thou Mine Unbelief

I was a brand-new teenager and had just experienced profound loss.
It felt like the world was falling apart. But I said God was there. I said He cared. 
And He did. 

Sometimes I hear negative words. I hear the church being criticized. 
Sometimes doubts creep into my mind. 
But I tell myself: I know what's truth and what isn't. God is truth. He is light.
And He is. 

I really struggle making choices. "I need some direction!" I cry.
It feels like He isn't listening sometimes. 
But I say to myself, God cares. He's aware of my life and won't let me make the wrong choice. He listens to me. 
And He does.

The following is an excerpt from the book Life of Pi by Yann Martel. If you aren't familiar with this book (now movie), our protagonist Pi is floating on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean with a 450-lb. tiger named Richard Parker as his only companion.

From Chapter 74:

     "Sometimes my heart was sinking so fast with anger, desolation and weariness, I was afraid it would sink to the very bottom of the Pacific and I would not be able to lift it back up.
     "At such moments I tried to elevate myself. I would touch the turban I had made with the remnants of my shirt and I would say aloud, 'THIS IS GOD'S HAT!'
     "I would pat my pants and say aloud, 'THIS IS GOD'S ATTIRE!'
     "I would point to Richard Parker and say aloud, 'THIS IS GOD'S CAT!'
     "I would point to the lifeboat and say aloud, 'THIS IS GOD'S ARK!'
     "I would spread my hands wide and say aloud, 'THESE ARE GOD'S WIDE ACRES!'
     "I would point at the sky and say aloud, 'THIS IS GOD'S EAR!'
     "And in this way I would remind myself of creation and of my place in it.
     "But God's hat was always unravelling. God's pants were falling apart. God's cat was a constant danger. God's ark was a jail. God's wide acres were slowly killing me. God's ear doesn't seem to be listening.
     "Despair was a heavy blackness that let no light in or out. It was a hell beyond expression. I thank God it always passed. A school of fish appeared around the net or a knot cried out to be reknotted. Or I thought of my family, of how they were spared this terrible agony. The blackness would stir and eventually go away, and God would remain, a shining point of light in my heart. I would go on loving." 

I really loved this chapter. The reason I share it with you is this: God doesn't always seem to be listening. Sometimes we get swallowed up by all of the awful things going on in our lives.

Sometimes our doubts overwhelm us and God doesn't make sense anymore.

This happens to EVERYONE, do you hear me? Everyone.

The important thing is that you remind yourself - sometimes even verbally, as Pi did - God cares. He hears. He knows. 

Even if you don't feel like it. Even if you can't see it. You already know. God has made manifest the truthfulness of Himself and His gospel to you before. He didn't suddenly cease to exist. It's just that the world is a tumultuous place sometimes, and it's easy to lose track of what's real and good and what isn't.

Be the one who's willing to show God that you'll hang in there. Even when it's hard. Even when you feel far away from the Spirit. Hang in there. Keep the faith. Reach out.

Be the one to exclaim, "Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief."

We all struggle with unbelief sometimes. Push through. Carry on. Remind yourself of God's goodness.

It might take a minute, it might take a year. But I promise that God WILL help take care of your unbelief.

Thanks for sticking with me. I love you all, hope you had a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

on becoming a better christian

"What were you doing with all that time when you weren't in church? I hope you were being a true Christian then, too."


My dear friends, what if I told you that the church isn't what matters. Yes, church isn't what matters. The church is a tool. It's a vehicle. An instrument. It's a freaking awesome one, at that, but it simply isn't what matters.

What matters is the gospel. What matters is Jesus Christ.
What matters is drawing close to Him. What matters is letting Him shape you and perfect you and make something better of you.

What matters is being a true disciple. Again, what matters is Christ, and only Christ. He is the center of everything, and He is who matters.

Our religion is the best thing ever. It's true and it's inspired and it's led by a prophet of God and I love it with all my heart.
You know what, though? I think a lot of people have cool religions. They don't have as much truth as we do, and true, their doctrine is less complete, but they are still good.

I've seen members of other religions who are more faithful, true, disciples of Christ than people I know within my own religion.

So tell me, when we leave this life, when we kneel before Jesus, when we have the miraculous opportunity to finally worship again at His feet... who will be more prepared, the humble one who dedicated his entire life to serving Jesus? Or the one who can only stutteringly say, "well... I mean, technically I was a member of your church."

Now, I'm taking liberties here. Obviously I don't know what God's judgement bar will be like. And I know that Christ is so merciful.

But I do know that I want to meet Christ as his disciple. I want to run to Him. I want to greet Him as my friend because I will know Him. And I will know Him because I dedicated the time necessary to get to know Him and because I allowed Him to make me a worthy servant and a fisher of men.

So, my lovely readers, remember to be a Christian. A real Christian. Not just a sayer, but a doer. Not just a member, but a disciple. A follower. 
Take Stephen Covey's advice when he said, "the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." 

And who is the main thing? Christ. Our loving Savior is the main thing. Always.

In Christ Alone by Keith and Kristyn Getty
In Christ Alone by Keith and Kristyn Getty on Grooveshark



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