Tag Archives: god

A biblical hope

2 Aug

To hope in Christ is not to wishfully think he might fulfill his promises; to hope in Christ is to stand firm on the truth that he lived, he died and he will return again. It is a knowledge and confidence. It is not a wish.

From the 1828 edition of Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language via this website:

HOPE, n. [L. cupio.]

1. A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.

The hypocrite’s hope shall perish. Job 8.

He wish’ed, but not with hope–
Sweet hope! kind cheat!
He that lives upon hope, will die fasting.

2. Confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well founded expectation of good; as a hope founded on God’s gracious promises; a scriptural sense.

A well founded scriptural hope is, in our religion, the source of ineffable happiness.

3. That which gives hope; he or that which furnishes ground of expectation, or promises desired good. The hope of Israel is the Messiah.

The Lord will be the hope of his people. Joel 3.

4. An opinion or belief not amounting to certainty, but grounded on substantial evidence. The christian indulges a hope, that his sins are pardoned.

…and that, in a nutshell, is my hope.

Jen

Darling, stop and ask yourself these three things (Wait for Me 3 of 7)

31 Jul

Do you remember my post, “The wrong question, the right question…and soup?” If you don’t, I hope you’ll check it out — and if you do, well, I hope you’re as excited as I am that Rebecca addresses exactly what’s wrong with the question, “How far is too far?” in Chapter Three of Wait for Me.

So welcome to Part 3 of my Wait for Me series (click here for Part 1, and here for Part 2). I’m so excited for those of you who are sticking around to explore this tough topic with me. I really believe God has placed a passion for this subject in my heart, and I’m trusting that this series will really touch the hearts of others.

There is so much good stuff in Chapter Three that I won’t even be able to mention half of it. I hope you’ll purchase Rebecca’s book and read it for yourself, but I want to highlight the first half of the chapter, where she mentions some important questions to ask ourselves regarding purity.

“The pain of discipline is far less than the pain of regret.”

1. What would God think?

We’ve all heard the question, “How far is too far?” And you may not even realize it, but the issue isn’t the answer to the question. Rebecca says the issue is the question itself!

“How many times have you and I heard the age-old question, how far is too far?” Rebecca asks. “I don’t even have to tell you that I’m talking about sexual intimacy; you’ve heard the question enough to know. You may have even asked it yourself. I believe the answer is extremely simple and its core idea comes directly from the Bible: ‘Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.’ (1 Cor. 10:31 NIV); ‘Whatever you do…do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus’ (Col. 3:17 NIV).”

Rebecca is basically saying that because we are followers of Christ, the first question we need to ask ourselves when we relate to the opposite sex is simply this: What would God think? Some similar questions Rebecca adds are as follows: Am I doing this in His name or my own? Would God even want to associate himself with what I’m doing? Ultimately, is God glorified through this?

Basically, Rebecca is saying that a Christian should be more occupied with how close he or she can get to God, NOT how close they can get to the opposite sex, outside of marriage, without technically crossing the line. She also shares the full verses mentioned above, so please check them out if you have time: 1 Corinthians 10:31 & Colossians 3:17.

2. What would my future spouse think?

Check out this story Rebecca shares regarding this second question:

“I spoke to a young girl in her early twenties who said she cringed every time she thought about having to tell her future spouse about what she’d done with another guy,” she writes. “She said she hadn’t wanted to fall sexually, but she did. She also said that the reason she was no longer a virgin was because she went past her boundaries and broke her standards. She thought that the little things weren’t that big of a deal.”

Rebecca goes on to explain that Satan will tell us things like, “There’s nothing wrong with a little compromise here, and there…” and before we know it, if we listen to him, we’ll be doing things we never wanted to do in the first place, things we never imagined ourselves doing, things that are sinful.

She also adds: “At the last supper, Jesus told his disciple Peter, ‘Satan has asked to sift you as wheat’ (Luke 22:31). He wants to sift you as well, causing you to allow first one compromise, then another to become permissible to you. If you have not clearly defined your boundaries, or if you choose not to say within your boundaries, then one thing can lead to another.”

3. What would my future children think?

The last question Rebecca encourages us to ask ourselves when it comes to purity is, “What would my future children think?” Here, she asks us to consider whether we would rather sit down our children and say something like, “Okay, little one, don’t do what I did,” or, “Here’s how I sought God’s help to remain pure before marriage.”

“Dr. James Dobson has said, ‘The best thing a father can do for his kids is to love his mother.’ In the same way, one of the gifts I can already be preparing for my future kids is my purity–showing them that I loved and respected their father by being faithful to him before I’d even met him,” Rebecca shares.

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did, and that you are encouraged. The next time you’re tempted to think, “How far is too far? This isn’t that bad. It’s not sex!” Please remember these three simple but life-saving questions! Although often quoted in the context of fitness, I once heard someone say, “The pain of discipline is far less than the pain of regret.” Keep it in mind as you live life.

As always, thanks for reading!

Jen

New blog series: Wait for Me

14 Jul

It’s been almost three years now since I truly felt compassion for young people. In November 2009, I attended a retreat for students as a youth leader and witnessed hundreds of students with backgrounds of abuse, depression and addiction flee to the altar to receive the grace and mercy of God. My heart broke for them. I began to hope that someday, somehow, I’d find my way into ministry.

Right now I’m working a regular “day job.” I absolutely love it, but it’s not the end for me. And I’ve also realized that I don’t have to be a pastor’s wife to be “in ministry.” No, my ministry is here and now, not in 10 years. It’s every Sunday and Wednesday that I devote to my youth group. It’s the ministry-related freelancing I do on the side. And, it’s this blog.

And my biggest passion for teens and young adults is a topic that is laughed and scoffed at by our sex-obsessed culture. It’s purity.

I’ve blogged about purity before, encouraging others to view it not as “unrealistic,” but as possible. (See the category “Pure Encouragement” for my posts on that topic.) But now I want to do something even more.

A few weeks ago I discovered the band for KING & COUNTRY and also found out that the men in the band are actually Rebecca St. James’ younger brothers. I got SO excited! I grew up on Rebecca’s music, and as I began to reflect on the impact her music had on me, I immediately remembered her most popular song, “Wait for Me.” So I decided to look her up on Twitter, and through a series of tweets, I discovered she actually has a book called Wait for Me that she published in 2002.

As I began to pray about my future just this morning, I once again felt that compassion I experienced in 2009. But it was a more specific compassion–a compassion for those who are both either 1) waiting for the one or 2) giving their hearts and bodies to anyone who’ll have them. I want both sides to see that purity is a beautiful thing, and that “waiting until marriage” is the best option and absolutely possible. I know many people who have waited. It’s how God intended it to be!

So, starting this Tuesday, I’m going to be blogging about Rebecca’s book Wait for Me. I’m so excited to dig into it today and begin writing about it. Every Tuesday I’ll publish a new post about it. There are seven chapters, so this will take seven weeks.

So, if you’re unmarried–male or female–this is goes out to you. (Even if you are married, these lessons can be for you, too, to someday share with your children.)

And let me also note that I refuse to be “preachy” or condemning. I’m learning, too–and I admit that I am not perfect. These will be lessons I learn and share with you. And I also want to note that Rebecca addresses second chances in her book. So don’t turn and run away if you have a past. Please stay.

I would be honored if you would stay tuned and walk out this journey with me. I’d encourage you even to read the book along with me. It’s only $9.99 on iBooks!

Thank you for reading and I hope you’ll come back on Tuesday!

Jen

The hands that hold the world

11 Jul

I’m in awe.

Last night I was reading Hebrews 12 and the last two verses just grabbed my attention, so I had to share them:

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29

A kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us offer to God acceptable worship. Our God is a consuming fire.

These verses give us a tiny little window-sized view into just how big our God is, even though we can’t fathom just how great he really is. But it simply amazes me that the same God that created the entire universe also created me and you, and he cares for us deeply. It reminds me of Phil Wickham’s song “Safe,” which I absolutely love:

“You will be safe in his arms, you will be safe in his arms

Cause the hands that hold the world are holding your heart

This is the promise he made, he will be with you always

When everything is falling apart, you will be safe in his arms.”

Isn’t that incredible?

Jen

“I hate being single” = “I don’t trust God”

4 Jul

It’s honesty hour.

Sometimes our culture just grieves me.

It’s relationship-focused and sex-driven. It’s disgusting. (I obviously don’t feel like sugarcoating today.)

What really bothers me is that I have seen and heard about so many people in my generation who absolutely abhor singleness (and even abstinence), as if it’s some sort of disease, disorder or curse.

But let’s just stop for a moment. Have you ever realized that singleness can be a blessing from God? If you’re single and reading this right now, are you willing to let God work in you, refine you and make you into the person you’re called to be (which, ya know, could be someone’s future spouse)? ‘Cause singleness is a great time for letting God move in your life and grow you spiritually. But you have to stop holding onto the mindset that our world thrusts upon us, which sounds a little bit like this: “I only have value if I am loved by someone else.” It’s a lie. The truth is, you are loved by God. That alone gives you value.

So honestly? I think singleness can be a gift. An absolute blessing, if we can simply trust God enough to let go. Long story short, to me, “I hate being single” is equal to the statement, “I don’t trust that God has very personally written my love story before I was ever born.” After all, God wrote each one of our days before one of them ever came to be (Psalm 139), so if your story includes marriage…well, God’s gonna handle that. Stop worrying.

And truthfully, if you’re running after every attractive person that crosses your path in an effort to cure yourself of loneliness, it may be true that you’re only looking to satisfy your own desires, which isn’t a great recipe for success when it comes to relationships. Nope. The Word tells us that love is selfless:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

So I encourage you to start learning selfless love now. Start with loving your neighbor as yourself.

And one more thing.

Single does not equal unhappy. In fact, there can be a whole lot of joy in it when our focus is on Christ. And hey, it’s okay to get on your knees and pray for a future spouse. And wait patiently for them, if indeed that’s what the Lord has in store for you. In fact, I encourage it!

Be blessed today, especially all you single ladies (and gents).

Jen

You opened my blind eyes, gave me a new life

30 Jun

You open our blind eyes, open our blind eyes
Heal all our sickness, you alone 
You opened my blind eyes, gave me a new life 
Oh yeah, our savior’s here

My favorite lines. From my favorite Kari worship song.

Has anyone had this experience? HE opened your blind eyes and gave you a new life? Rescued you from a path that was quickly headed for a downward spiral? Saved you?

“God rescued me; He is faithful.” That’s my story.

What’s YOUR story? I want to hear from my readers…

Ready, set, GO! 🙂

Jen

Some of my favorite words from David

22 Jun

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he inclined to me and heard my cry.

He drew me up from the pit of destruction,

out of the miry bog,

and set my feet upon a rock,

making my steps secure.

He put a new song in my mouth,

a song of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear,

and put their trust in the Lord.

(Psalm 40:1-3)

Loving ______ as yourself

20 Jun

Monday night’s post from James 2 presented us with a reminder about loving our neighbors as ourselves. And I’ve come to realize how often young people, in our naiveté and self-centeredness, neglect this responsibility and think we know better than our parents. To put it bluntly, that sometimes results in treating them like crap.

But if you really love your neighbors, that means you love your closest neighbors. And who might that be? Well, whoever you live with–most likely your parents, siblings, children or spouse.

For me, “loving my neighbor as myself” means applying this command to the way I treat my parents. At 21 and a college grad with a full-time job, it can be so easy for me to roll my eyes during a disagreement with them and say, “Whatever mom and dad, I’m an adult.”

But…

That’s not what Jesus would do. That’s not what the Word tells me to do.

I live with my parents. They are my closest neighbors. (And they give me a rent-free roof over my head as I dig myself out of student loan debt for the next year or so!)

And, I am to love them. And love them like I love myself. No questions asked. And no blowing them off when I’m mad. Cause that’s not love.

The truth is, my family should come first in my life, after God. No guy, no job, no hobby will take the place of them. I mean yes, one day I hope to be married. But until then, my parents are the most important.

And, learning to love my parents in this authentic way is the perfect preparation for marriage. If I want to be married someday, I’ve gotta learn how to love someone I live with, which includes accepting their faults, flaws, failures, annoying habits, etc. Honestly, if I allow myself to be under the impression that my future spouse is going to be perfect and a joy to live with my whole life…ha! I’m in for a reality check. (Can I get a married person to back me up here?!) Long story short, if I think I can disregard the way I treat my parents now, I will be ill-prepared for marriage later on.

So…I’m gonna do it. I’m going to love
my parents as I love myself.

What neighbor of yours are you neglecting to love today? I encourage you to set it right. It’s worth it.

Jen

Trials: Mercy from God

12 Jun

What if your blessings come through raindrops?

What if your healing comes through tears?

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you’re near?

What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?

(Blessings – Laura Story)

Had a revelation about this song today and how it has applied to my own life and experiences.

Ask yourself: Where has God allowed trials in your life and how have they been a blessing to you? Have you thanked him for the hard times that have molded you into the image of who you were called to be as a follower of Christ?

Jen

Livin’ like Hebrews 12:1-2

8 Jun

Are you willing?

Are you willing to press on in your walk with Christ and strive to become more like him with each day, even if it means leaving some parts of your old life behind? Such as friends who influence you and hold you back? A relationship you’re not supposed to be in? A pathway of life that leads to destruction? A career change? The approval of your peers? Repentance?

I was asked something along those lines this week.

And, I am willing. Because, as Paul said in Galatians:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Oh, and it’s not about me. It’s not my life. It’s HIS life. The purpose of my life is not for Jen to be happy and feel good. It’s for Jen to glorify Jesus.

Living like Hebrews 12:1-2 (look it up!),
Jen