Beautiful Insanity

My God is insane.

Yes, I can hear you shrieking. “The conservative, teenaged blogger called God insane! May she be struck with a mighty lightning bolt…!”

It’s true. My God is insane.

For thousands of years, the people wandering this earth have practiced stealing, murder, deception, lust, coveting – you name it. Nasty, vile sins; thousands of people over thousands of years, repeating all the sins of those who came before us. Over and over, we’ve committed despicable sins, sneering at God, cursing His name, and rejecting His supremacy.

They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Rom. 1:29-32)

This is us! Filled with wickedness, evil, greed and depravity, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice – this is our race. We as humans are born as gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful… and we see that the list goes on.

All of those things, are us? Yes. Wicked? Yes. Depraved? Yes. God-haters? Yes. We even know God’s righteous decree, and we continue to do these very things.

For years, I have committed many sins. I am as wholly guilty as all those who came before me. Over and over I’ve sinned, rejecting God, ignoring the beauty of the cross. I inherit the sins of envy, malice, arrogance… and we see that the list goes on.

But here’s where the insanity of my Lord applies.

My Jesus washed it all away.

The all-powerful, pure, perfect, holy Lord, looked down on slanderous, malicious, evil little me, and called me according to His purpose. He predestined me to be conformed to the image of His Son.

The all-powerful, pure, perfect, holy Lord, justified the slanderous, malicious, evil creature named Lauren.

Through Christ’s death on the cross, I have been made His child.

I know – it’s insane, isn’t it?! It’s just insane that the holy, almighty, divine, sinless Lord, would make such a dirty, rotten sinner His beloved child!

And yet, this is what my God does. He loves me so deeply… unconditionally… it’s just unfathomable. He doesn’t hold my sins before me – He washed them all away with His blood!

This is why my Lord is insane. His beautiful insanity has saved a wretch like me.

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Jesus Loves Me

MY JESUS LOVES ME!

“Uh, yeah, Lauren… c’mon, even the five-year-olds know that much,” I hear you say, rolling your eyes.

No, you don’t understand – My Jesus, my Savior, my Redeemer, the sovereign, almighty Lord, King of Kings, Prince of Peace, Creator of the universe, all-powerful, all-knowing, just and mighty God in heaven, loves ME.

I am a sinner. My life is stained and scarred by stupid choices, foolish actions, sins left and right. Wallowing in sin, it’s pretty much pointless. Why would anyone love me? I’m just a dirty, rotten sinner.

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8)

He loves me despite my sin! He loves me regardless of my past, my present, and my future! He doesn’t see my sin, the stains, the scars, the stupid choices and foolish actions. He sees His beloved child, adopted through His Spirit. He sees the one He’s conforming to the image of His Son. He loves me for who I am, not for what I’ve done or what I will do. He loves me.

What kind of love is this? Why would such a mighty, powerful Lord love such a lowly, dirty, filthy sinner?

Because this is my SAVIOR! My Lord would love someone like me! He made me His child – His perfect, justified heir. The Spirit HIMSELF testifies! There is no condemnation for me, because I have been set free through Christ Jesus!

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive in Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. (Col. 2:13-14)

Hallelujah! He has forgive all our sins, canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which condemned us, and NAILED IT TO THE CROSS. What kind of God would do that for a wretched sinner?

My SAVIOR! He loved me enough to do that! I was dead in sin, but I have been made alive in Christ. What sort of God would make new creatures in Him, simply out of an unfathomable love for His creation? Not any god you’ll find outside of the Bible. This sort of amazing love, amazing grace, comes from my Redeemer, my Lord, my Savior, my God.

How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast, beyond all measure – that He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure!

 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. (Eph. 5:8)

From My Redeemer

Dearest Priceless One,

 

Stop running.

I know you want to hide; I know life is hard.

But stop running from Me.

If you would just stop and turn around, you would find My arms stretched out for you, waiting to hold you.

If you would let down your guard, if you would just drop your defenses, you would see My grace.

If you would simply stop fighting Me, if you would stop rejecting the love I lavish on you, you would feel the depths of My unconditional love toward you.

You are Mine, and I cherish you always. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate you from My love. Nothing that you do can make Me love you less.

My love for you is so incredible, so incomprehensible, so extraordinary. Yes, you are a filthy rag, stained by sin and bearing the scars of your past. Yes, you are undeserving of anything but punishment, of eternal death.

But My love has overlooked all of your past, all of your sins. My grace has made you a new creation. The chains of sin are gone; you have been set free. You are beautiful, and you are Mine.

So stop running. Why are you running away from My love, My grace? Stop running, and fall into My arms.

How Do You Want to Be Known?

Hey guys. Sorry it’s been a while. I’ve had a ton of crazy stuff happening in my life over the past few months, so I’ve really neglected y’all here. I know that lately I’ve done a lot of short stuff, things that aren’t really deep or quite as serious. I’m sorry about that. I haven’t had the time or desire to write anything longer – but I had the time this past weekend, so I thought I’d get something out. I’m working on trying to get stuff up here, it’s just taking a little time. Prayers for me would definitely be appreciated! Anyway, here’s your post.

I’ve heard sermons preached before about “the girl” from 2 Kings 5, who was a captive from Israel, serving Naaman’s wife. You probably have, too. About her submission, her diligence, respect, etc., etc… One of the messages I heard about her was early one Sunday morning about three years ago, in the women’s Sunday school. (I was reminded of this by looking through old church notes – and discovered that that was the morning when I scribbled out a poem during the message. But hey, I still learned something!) The point of that particular message was about living with a purpose. Which is sort of what I want to talk about today.

I’m going to ask you a question, and you don’t have to actually answer me, but I want you to think about it in your head for a good, solid minute. Here it is: How do you want to be known?

Think about it. How do you want to be known? How do you want people to think of you, to talk about you?

Of course, if I’m going to pose this question to you, I need to actually think of an answer for myself.

I want others to see me as overflowing with the love of Christ, a beautiful new creation, a deeply caring, true friend, a passionate warrior, a humble slave… the list goes on.

Self-evaluation quiz: Where am I on those goals?

*crickets chirping in background*

 Can you relate?

I’m so, so, so, sooooo very far from reaching those aspirations. They seem so far from reach, especially when I’m in the dark valleys that life pitches at me. Considering the place I’m in right now, it definitely seems farther than ever before.

But I can’t let this stop me.

I have this rather common condition that you might suffer from, as well. It’s called universal comparisonism. (I just made that up, actually.) I compare myself with just about everyone. And guess what? I fall short of just about everyone.

But I can’t let this stop me.

Next to universal comparisonism is universal discouragementism. I get discouraged. I feel like quitting. The long, seemingly-laborious toil of day after day after day getting it wrong while trying to get it right, can be very discouraging. It’s very disappointing when we don’t reach a goal after trying so, so hard to reach it.

But I can’t let this stop me.

Why not?! I’ve got all these things going against me. Why should I try to be something that clearly I’m not?

Because Christ asks these things of me. It’s my purpose – to strive to please Him. I should show the love of Christ. I should be seen as a beautiful new creation by His work (and His work only!). I should be a deeply caring, true friend. God asks for passionate warriors. He demands humble slaves. And His list goes on.

2 Pet. 1:5-7, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection (or brotherly love, as I think the KJV puts it); and to mutual affection, love.”

*flips over to 2 Tim. 2:22 – I love hearing the crinkle of the pages in a Bible*

“Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

And there are more commands in Scripture.

See, without commands from Christ, we’re sort of living in limbo land – not for sure what to do with our life. What’s the purpose of living if there’s nothing to live for? Why would you just breathe air, without trying to accomplish anything? And if Christ has given us things to strive for, things to pursue and to add to our faith, why on earth shouldn’t we pursue these things?

How do you want to be known? Do you want to be known as the most athletic, the most talented, the most beautiful, the most popular? Or… do you want to be known as someone who is using their life to serve the Lord, to seek to honor Him in all that they do, and though they fail, they continue to pursue the things He asks of us?

Dunno about you, but I’ll opt for the latter.

I don’t know how I’m known as now, but I’d much prefer being known as a warrior of Christ who is trying to add all of those things to my faith, who is fleeing the evil desires of youth, and pursuing all the things that please Christ. Of course I’m going to mess up – in fact, I’m going to mess up every day. But by the grace of God, I hope to have the strength to get back up on my feet and continue fighting on the battle front to honor Him.

And by actively seeking these things, I will be known by such.

Sunshine Blogger Award (Secret Confessions of a Teenage Blogger)

(This is a scheduled post… I’m finally getting that figured out!) (Also, there are more serious posts coming. I promise. It’s been a little hard around here lately, and I haven’t gotten much serious writing done. But there IS a post in the cue for this week… so, yeah.)

 

So! I’ve been nominated from Sam Wegner over at Love Out Loud for the Sunshine Blogger Award. The rules are:

1. Give your thanks to the blogger who gave the award to you (Thank you, Sam!)
2. Include the bright yellow picture in your blog post
3. List 7 facts about yourself
4. Nominate 5 other bloggers that you respect and let them know by posting a comment on their blog. *scratches head while considering the following paragraph*

 

Ahem. I owe everyone (including Sam) an apology, I believe. Already knowing very few bloggers, I wasn’t entirely sure who I should nominate. I came up with a few people, but then it turned out that they were already nominated by others. So, I’m at a complete loss now of who to nominate. But I told her I would do it, so I’m still going to go ahead with it. Please, please, if anyone reading this wants to do it, PLEASE. Do it. I already feel bad for not being able to nominate people on the last random post I did, and this is just another repeat. So I apologize for not being able to officially nominate people.

 

Another note. I’ve kind of decided to make this like the equivalent to one of those “confessions” type posts, where I dash my beautiful, pristine, online appearance. Seven confessions facts about me. Just in case there were some misunderstandings. Here we go. (P.S. I can be sort of long-winded at times.)

 

  1. I am NOT perfect. Whaaat?! I know, I know, y’all probably didn’t know that. Me? Not perfect? It’s hard to believe… Just kidding. It’s the truth – I’m not perfect. Not anywhere close. However, this is where the beauty of God’s love shines through. Because I am far from perfect, I cannot save myself. And because His love for me is so great, and He knew I was not perfect, He provided salvation for me anyway. Isn’t that awesome?!
  2. I frequently struggle with trusting God. Saywhaaa? Yes. Very sadly I admit, I am very much a “see-it-to-believe-it” person in many ways. I have a hard time just accepting that there are things beyond my control, things that I can’t see or know. So trusting that God has things in His hands is more of a frequent challenge than it should be.
  3. I battle with loneliness, too. Knowing people doesn’t mean you *know* them. It doesn’t mean that they’re always *there*. It doesn’t make them your friend. However, there is Someone who is always there without fail. He never leaves us, or forsakes us. This is Jesus Christ, the One who loves us unconditionally. And this is one of those things I have to remind myself of over, and over, and over, and over, and over again.
  4. I ask why. A lot. It sort of links back to the whole trust thing. It’s on those nights when you’re curled up on your bedroom floor, crying your eyes out, when you ask, why? Why did God let this happen? Why did He have to do this, or that? Why? WHY? And most of the time, we get a very reassuring, comforting, “Not yet. You’re not to know just yet.” Which makes us ask, “WHY?” Yet regardless, we’re called to have trust, and to walk by faith and not by sight. (Whether we like it or not…) Sometimes, we won’t get the answers we want to hear when we ask why. Sometimes, we won’t even get answers at all.
  5. I’ve held grudges. Over, and over, and over again. Forgiveness is not my strong suit. When someone hurts me, it takes a little while for me to come around to truly forgive them. I admit, I’m ashamed of this fact. I don’t naturally just forgive people the split second after they do me wrong. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them, but when someone hurts me, it hurts bad. And God gave me several situations with forgiveness last year. So – I’ve now had a lot of experience. 😉
  6. I haven’t been a great friend. I’d like to think that I do a better job than I actually do. Especially this past year. For someone who values friendship so highly, you’d think I’d be a little better at it! I’ve neglected relationships, been rude, haven’t been there when people have needed me, and the list just keeps going. And yet, for all the ways that I’ve messed up, there are still some crazy (I didn’t just type that) awesome people who have put up with me for quite a while now.
  7. I am selfish. Wow, that was a no-brainer. But still. I think there are some days when I forget that life revolves around God rather than me. I have a selfish heart. It is only by the grace of God that He would be willing to love someone who is as selfish as I am. And so I thank Him all the more for it.

 

 

 

Social Media of Terrorist Visa Applicants

Hey y’all! Here is a new blog started by Ryan S. (from over at A Message for the Messenger), and here’s his first post!

God's Law and Order

On December 2nd, San Bernardino was a victim to a terrorist attack. Fourteen people were killed in the attack. But I’m not here to write about the attack; I’m here to write The losses of brothers, sisters, parents, or children was grieved nation-wide, by every American citizen abroad. But our great country of America did absolutely nothing about it afterward. What do I mean? There is a Governmental policy that limits their investigating agents. When an immigrant seeks a visa, the American government does a background check on that person. However, they are not allowed to check their background online – over social media. “During that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of the screening process,” says John Cohen, a former acting under-secretary at DHS for intelligence and analysis.
As John Cohen again put it, “Immigration, security, law enforcement officials recognized…

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Names of God

I did a post like this in the earlier part of last year, with maybe three or four names. But I was looking through Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps & Time Lines (sounds boring, but it’s one of my favorite factual books to go through), and I found a list of the names of God. Some of these are SO comforting! So I thought I’d share some.

 

  • ADONAI – The Lord My Great Lord
  • EL SHADDAI – The All Sufficient One, The God of the Mountains, God Almighty
  • EL ELYON – The God Most High
  • JEHOVAH-MEKADDISHKEM – The Lord Who Sanctifies
  • JEHOVAH-SABOTH – The Lord of Hosts, The Lord of Armies
  • JEHOVAH-SHALOM – The Lord is Peace
  • JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH – The Lord is There, The Lord My Companion
  • JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU – The Lord Our Righteousness
  • EL ROI – The God Who Sees Me
  • EL – The Strong One

 

 

(Editor’s note: This is my 100th post for Defying Depravity! Whoop, whoop!)