Dinner Guests

 

This is the prayer I journaled after a moving experience at Grace Midtown.


Lord, teach me to be a bridge-builder. Show this generation to be like Abel and stop being like Cain. Teach us to grow, build, and empower lives—not to destroy them. Send Your never ending love down to this earth in order to cast out all hate, fear, and evil. Teach us to rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn. Break our hearts for what breaks yours, Father.


Wow. This is the only word I can use to describe how I feel about the past few weeks, and honestly the past few months. It’s scary to live in a world where mass shootings are so common that our hearts become desensitized to the disastrous aftermath of one individual’s selfish and careless decisions. So, in hopes of helping myself cope with this world, I’ve written up a few things to remind myself, and you, about the goodness of Jesus.

In 1 Corinthians 11:17-22, we read about the mistreatment of the Lord’s Supper. During this time, each person would bring their own food and those in the same social class would sit together to eat. Paul is writing to rebuke this practice.

“So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private supper. As a result, one person remains hungry and another person gets drunk.” (v. 20-21)

In other words, there is injustice and inequality in your social structures and there is no place for that in the family of God. Instead, brothers and sisters, everyone brings what they have and no one goes hungry. None of our brothers or sisters should go unnourished. Meet their needs.

If we translate this message to our world today, Paul is referring to anyone who is oppressed. Jesus came to this earth to embrace those whom society rejected. If we are to be His hands and feet, we must do the same!

The way of Jesus is to lay down ourselves for the good of someone else. Period. There are no conditions. The only perfect person that has ever walked this earth stripped himself, and washed the feet of his followers. Shortly after, He tells us,

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

And again,

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12

And again,

“This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:17

Jesus knew His time here on earth was coming to an end, so it’s like He is screaming to His disciples, “This is important! Do not forget! Understand what I’m saying here! Write it once, twice, three times so everyone will know!”

Love each other. Period. Love. Each. Other. Let’s look at this a little more. Jesus does not say, “Love the people that look like you. Love the people that live like you. Love the people that raise their children like you. Love the people that believe what you do. Love people when it’s convenient for you.” Don’t miss the mark here, folks. Love people. Love ALL people.

If we need a little more instruction, Jesus goes deeper. “Love each other as I have loved you.” Jesus is not asking us to do anything that He has not already done. He gave us the example! Make little of yourself to make greater of someone else. Strip yourself, get on your knees, and serve another person.

Strip yourself of your pride.

Strip yourself of your comfort.

Strip yourself of your judgments.

And serve the people around you.

Lower yourself in order to lift someone up, especially those that are in need.

 

Paul beautifully describes what love in action looks like (I know it’s a lot, but it’s worth it!):

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those to persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, will you heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:9-21

Wow! Right?! Paul time-travelled to 2016, peered briefly into our world, and wrote this passage for us to adopt into our hearts. This is slap FULL of so much goodness and so much truth. I’m really tempted to break down every single line of that scripture, but I know many of y’all would stop reading right now. Instead, I’ll let scripture speak for itself and pray that God opens our hearts to HEAR what He is trying to tell us. From what I gather, it all boils down to this: love, serve, and trust.

Love everyone.

Serve others above yourself.

Trust God.

 

To those who are hurting, confused, and mourning: I encourage you to press into Christ. Jesus relates to the individuals that lost their lives at the hands of violent men. He stands in unity with the suffering. He understands. He empathizes. He suffered.

I know some words on a screen will not miraculously make you feel peace. Remember, we serve the Prince of Peace. Cry out! Ask God to work in your heart until you feel the sorrow of those that are hurting. Plead that God will stir in the hearts of those that have been overcome by wickedness. Pray people would fear His wrath and act in obedience of His word. Ask Him to come down and smother you in His presence and His peace. You cannot do this alone. Remember friends, Christ’s power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 2:9).

I am sickened at the amount of family and friends I’ve seen on my newsfeed that are trying to rationalize this injustice by believing that some lives are more valued, more important, and more missed than others. If you find it difficult to mourn with those who mourn, though they are different from you, I encourage you to lay that need down at the foot of the cross. Pray that God broadens your perspective and ask God to reveal to you how He sees all people. Ask God to change how you think and feel.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2

In order to love all people, we must respect them. In order to respect all people, we must understand them. In order to understand all people, we must make an effort to get to know them. In order to get to know all people, we must be willing to leave our comfort zone and follow the calling of Christ.

So, what now? For believers, we cannot give up. Don’t give into the ways of this world. Don’t hide or fear. Remember, we are the hands and feet of Jesus. How would Jesus respond? Our King is bold and He is fearless. Run into this world with open hands to surrender and open arms to embrace. Be Jesus to others. He would not cower in the comfort of His home, rather He would be on the streets healing and telling of God’s love. I encourage you to do the same. With a spirit led conviction, find your calling in all this chaos. Pray for God to show you your purpose and pray for the courage to do it. Step out of the boat!

If you’re reading this and you don’t know Jesus, I encourage you to explore that curiosity. Ask me, if you feel led! Pick up a Bible and start reading in John to know more about the Lord and Savior of this world; if that’s a little too much, start by searching for some worship music. Maybe even say a little prayer and ask God to reveal Himself to you in a way that you will receive it and ask for an open heart to hear Him when He does so. This is a life-changing message that I don’t want you to miss.

Jesus knew we would need encouragement.

“I have told you these things so that you may find peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” John 6:33

He has overcome the world! He lives! He’s here! And He’s ready for YOU!

If we go back to our message from Paul about the Lord’s Supper, I challenge you to think about who is sitting at your table, and what are you going to do about that?

Offer a seat at the table to everybody. Meet their needs. Love them. Everyone.


Father, I cry out to you know. Wrap your arms around the hearts of those that are hurt. Teach us to be bridge-builders. Teach us to be feet-washers. Teach us to be table-setters. Show and guide us how to be your hands and feet in this corrupt world we live in. Lift us up so we do not lose heart, but instead press into You. Give us understanding so we may love better. Challenge and inspire us to find our purpose for the kingdom. And break our hearts for what breaks yours so that we may feel the call to be a change. All in Jesus’ name.


 

Choose Jesus, friends.

-R

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Featured image from here.

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You Are Saved By Grace

You are saved by grace.

What does this mean? Most Christians would interpret this as meaning, “You are saved from eternal separation from God, by grace given to us through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.” There is so much beauty and truth in that interpretation. However, I challenge you to think about the gifts from the Cross we get to enjoy here on Earth.

When we accept Christ into our hearts, we in return hand Him our lives. As believers, we know that God has control over every aspect of our lives. He has a plan for us. He knows us (Isaiah 49:16), He knows our future (Jeremiah 29:11), He will deliver us from hardship and heartbreak (Psalm 34:17), and He will never leave us (Deuteronomy 31:6). What does this mean for you in your everyday life?

  • You are saved from worrying about your future because God’s will is ultimate (Proverbs 19:21).
  • You are saved from anxieties of the world because He will give you peace (Philippians 4:6-7).
  • You are saved from judgment of humans because He instructs those without sin to judge (John 8:7), and all have sinned against God (Romans 3:23).
  • You are saved from shame from your past because He doesn’t want you to stay there. He wants you to move forward (Isaiah 43:18).
  • You are saved from guilt from your mistakes because He does not hold on your our sins. He washes them out of His mind and out of existence (Isaiah 43:25).
  • You are saved from sorrow because He is the source of joy (1 Thessalonians 2:20, Romans 15:13).
  • You are saved from rejection because He accepts everyone who calls on Him (John 6:37).
  • You are saved from loneliness because He is always with you (Joshua 1:9).
  • You are saved from jealousy because to Him you are enough (Psalm 139:14).
  • You are saved from envy because He will provide all that you need (Philippians 4:19).

You are saved from anything that takes away from your peace, joy, and contentment that is offered to you through the greatest gift of mercy – Jesus. Reap the benefits of the Cross. Because of Jesus we can enjoy peace, stability, comfort, forgiveness, acceptance, trust, faithfulness, joy, freedom, and unconditional unstoppable love. When life starts beating down on me and I feel tempted to slip back into anxiety, shame, sorrow, or any other negative emotion, I just think to myself, “I was saved from this.” Jesus sacrificed Himself so that we may know our heavenly Father – the creator of the universe and the author of each of our lives. He is good. He is just. He is faithful.

“Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10

Lock Screen Photo from SheReadsTruth.

12 Bible Verses For Someone Going Through Heartbreak

“Lord, I want you to heal me. Wrap your arms around me and comfort my heart and my soul in the way that only You can. No other person on this Earth can love me and fill me the way you do. I am desperate for your comfort, stability, and grace.”

I cannot even begin to tell you the countless times I’ve prayed a variation of this prayer. Late nights, early mornings, and rainy afternoons, it’s funny how Jesus can find His was into our hearts at the mere crack of His Word. Scripture can be so healing, so comforting, so real. I pray that you feel the Lord’s presence in your life, because His presence is accompanied by peace, contentment, and joy. I pray you will meditate on these pieces of scripture and that you find them as helpful in during your rough season as I have.

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding,” Proverbs 3:5

“Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize what I am doing, but later you will understand.'” John 13:7

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.” Job 5:17-18

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:8

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

He is good. He is fair. He is faithful. He is trustworthy.

As always, choose Jesus, friends.

Saturdays in Athens As Told By Kevin Hart

As a major part of the University of Georgia’s culture, most students can relate to the game day routine in our beautiful city. Fans from all around the state and nation travel miles, flooding the lanes of 316, to join this culture and experience the beloved “Saturday in Athens.” If you’ve been here before, you know this feeling. The excitement that rushes from deep inside your bones when you hear the first “GOOO…” at kickoff is the same excitment that you get when you see that red jersey and silver britches fly into the end zone and fuels you to throw four fingers into the air at the sound of Redcoat Band’s “Krypton.” And if this, ladies and gentlemen, is something you have not experienced yet, I pray you make it into Athens soon. Until then, allow me to give you a little insight to our culture in the best way I know how: through the lens of the hysterical, and totally relatable, comedian Kevin Hart. Welcome to game days in Athens.

Your alarm goes off and you rise out of bed like

better

Get up it’s game day!

You get ready and start walking to your tailgate with 92,000 of your newest friends. 

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Complete strangers, of course. But you love every single person wearing red and black.

Passing the enemies like

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Whether they’re wearing purple, crimson, blue, or hideous orange, you warn them with your eye contact.

Finally reaching your tailgate and it’s time to start partying with friends

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Ain’t nothin’ finer in the land

You reach the student gate and the line is really long, so you ease your way into the middle and end up beside “that guy.” You’re forced to laugh at his jokes so he doesn’t kick you to the back of the line. 

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“Yeah man, that’s hilarious!” When is this gate going to open…

First come first served seating. Someone tries to take your friends’ seats so you look at them like

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Sorry Pal. Dawg eat dawg student section.

When they announce the starting line up you look to your friend and whisper

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Chill bumps cover your body.

 Georgia drives and scores

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Commence victory dance.

You swear Nick Chubb just looked past your eyes into your soul from the end zone

NC

Call me later, Nick. I know you’re busy at the moment.

Some girl that doesn’t understand the game (and probably doesn’t even care) is talking while we’re on offense

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Hopefully the next drive she takes the hint.

It’s fourth and inches so you lean in to get a better look to see if he got the first down.

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We all remember 4th and inches the refs gave South Carolina last year. Can’t trust em.

When the opponent scores and you try to distract the kicker during the PAT

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Blasted! He saw through my distraction.

Other Coach is pitching a fit and you look at him like

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He was totally in bounds! Want some cheese with that wine?

Someone on the field tries to start a fight with Nick Chubb, so naturally we respond

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You don’t want to make that mistake.

DAWGS WIN

dawgs win

As expected.

You see a salty fan of the other team downtown tryin the dawgs and he brings up Todd’s suspension

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Those are serious fighting words.

Then he stands up out of his chair and you realize how much size he’s got on you, so you look at your friends like

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Thank the sweet Lord Jesus you have tall and calm tempered friends.

They pull you away and out of the bar and you look back at him and have one last word. 

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Then run. Quickly.

Everyone is buying drinks downtown but

dt1

So I gotta switch it to my checkin’, but it take 3-5 business days. I don’t think it’s gonna go through.

So you just take a water then dance and celebrate with the rest of Dawg Nationreal

Dawgs on Top, always.

Set the Pages Free

Riding in the car today listening to the radio, Big Daddy Weave’s hit “Overwhelmed” poured out of the speakers, and out of my lungs, filling my small car with loud, somewhat pleasing, worship. Then, I stopped and listened to the lyrics:

God, I run into Your arms

Unashamed because of mercy

I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

I know the power of Your Cross

Forgiven and free forever You’ll be my God

And it hit me. Finally.

I’m sure we’ve all done something we’re not too proud of. Some of us have things in our past that we are down right ashamed of.

Our life is a story. Every story is different and every story has multiple chapters. You can’t move on to the next chapter until you’re finished reading the current one, or things just won’t make sense. Let’s say for the sake of this analogy, we finish a chapter in our life and then we take all the pages of that chapter and throw them high into the air. Each page slowly drifting its way down to the floor in a complete disorganized mess, but that’s healthy because that chapter is over. We’re done reading it and we aren’t going to re-read it or we won’t be able to move on.

Back to our pasts: that one (or multiple) mistake you made that is weighing on your chest like lead is the paperweight that is holding the pages your life story down, forcing you to painfully reread them over and over again. Someone just put a fan in front of all those pages — a new person in your life, new experience, new opportunity — and the pages of your last chapter naturally want to go scattering like a fun, wild, beautiful mess in the wind eventually finding their way to the ground so you can start over. But, there’s that one thing stopping it, that one thing hindering your natural ability to get excited and move freely to a new chapter in your story. That. One. Mistake.

Here’s mine…

Ha! Y’all thought I was gonna get deep, huh? Well I’m sorry to say I’m not going to put one of my biggest regrets on the Internet for everyone to see. God knows what’s on my mind and in my heart, that’s what’s important. And that’s the beauty of the Cross — Jesus has already died for all of our sins! We don’t have to confess our mistakes to humans to get human approval, because the approval of the only One needed has already been granted to us! It has already been done!

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” Ephesians 1:7

Friends, we do not have to be ashamed of our sin anymore! Some of you may be thinking, “But you don’t know what I’ve done. God could never love me…” Let me start by showing you this:

God uses ordinary people to bring glory to His kingdom.

  • Peter denied Jesus.
  • Abraham was a liar.
  • Matthew was a tax collector.
  • Noah was a drunk.
  • Moses was a murderer.
  • Sampson was full of lust and anger.
  • Paul was a murderer and prosecuted Christians.
  • David was a murderer and an adulterer.
  • Rehab was a prostitute

God used all these people for His good.

Therefore,

  • It doesn’t matter how many people you’ve slept with.
  • It doesn’t matter how many drugs you’ve done.
  • It doesn’t matter how many naked pictures you’ve sent.
  • It doesn’t matter how much porn you’ve watched.
  • It doesn’t matter how much alcohol you’ve drank.

God loves you (Romans 5:8). He knows you (Isaiah 49:16). He forgives you (1 John 1:9). And He wants you to come to Him (Revelation 3:20-21).

For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10). For when I am humanly weak, and therefore boldly depending on Jesus, then I am strong with the divine strength of Christ. And remember,

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13

Friends, let Christ free you and strengthen you today, so that you may be out of the hold your sin has on your life.

  1. You must repent; confess your sins to God. David leaves us a beautiful example of repentance in Psalm 51:1-4.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” Act 3:19

  1. Then, you may be redeemed by the blood of Christ poured out on the Cross.

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24

  1. So you can run from your sin without looking back.

“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.” 2 Timothy 2:22

“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!” Romans 6:15

Repent. Be redeemed. Run. And rejoice because He is good, merciful, and loving.

Unlock the shackles of your past sin that is holding you back from living free and redeemed with the key that God has handed you in Jesus. He poured His blood so that we would never have to pour tears of shame or guilt.

“The pain you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.” Romans 8:18

Allow yourself to forgive you. He has forgiven you. Allow Him to remove the paperweight on your last chapter and set the pages free, so you can watch them scatter around the air like the flakes in a snow globe. Then, watch them slowly drift to the ground, stand up, and walk right over them, onto the next phase of your life. You are no longer held down. You are free to move on. You are free.

WE can run into God’s arms and His love, UNASHAMED of your sin because of HIS love and MERCY given to us with Jesus.

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Run Your Race

So far, my blog posts have been about things that I’m struggling with. Through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, I find comfort in searching the Word for help and writing up what I’ve found to share with you. So this blog post is about something I think we all struggle with from time to time: contentment vs. comparison. (This one is a long one, so buckle up and stay with me!)

College and the rest of your twenties is truly a time of finding yourself and building the person you want to become. This is a lot easier said than done, especially in the era of social media when it seems like everyone on your news feed is posting pictures of their latest accomplishments: new outfits, friends, jobs, events, engagement rings, ultrasounds, etc.

I mean am I the only one out there just trying to wake up and put on real clothes for class? I’ve found myself feeling overwhelmed with juggling the amount of things I want to do and actually budgeting the time and motivation to do them, then, comparing where I’m at to my friends and peers. What I’ve been telling myself during these frustrating times of comparison is this: run your race.

Run your race. Play the cards you were dealt. Because let me tell ya, friends, God doesn’t make mistakes. And His will for you and your life is infinite, whole, and perfect in itself. What does this mean? It means that His will for you is not contingent upon His will for others.

Just because you’re not graduated, engaged, or promoted, and people around you are, does not mean that your portion is bad and theirs is good.

(This one may be more personal but,) Just because someone else got a new cute puppy, does not mean that you need to go a rescue another one, Rebecca. Be content with your portion and the two amazing animals you do have. Be faithful to them.

If you are meant to get that job, you will. And that is not contingent upon if you someone else applied or got the same job. So don’t worry about them.

If you are meant to end up with that guy (or girl), you will. And that is not contingent upon if he (or she) meets someone new in class or work. So don’t worry about them.

If you are meant to end up at that school, you will. And that is not contingent upon if so and so has better test scores that you. So don’t worry.

If it is written in God’s will, it will be.

“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:27

Now hear me out, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t work hard for things that you want. Not at all. As a matter of fact, the bible instructs us to put forth all of our effort into our works.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” Colossians 3:23

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:21

Run your race. Play the cards you were dealt. No one cares that you could have had a royal flush with your neighbor’s jack of clubs. If it’s not yours, it’s not yours. God’s plan for your life is not contingent upon someone else’s plan. Be content with your portion, be faithful to what you do have, and live your life the way God wants you to: joyful in trusting His plans for you.

What are some ways that the enemy secretly breaks down your trust for God’s will for you life? He will plant the nasty seeds of comparison, envy, and covet in your mind; and, through these things, break down the contentment and peace for your own life.

The Bible instructs us to be happy with who we are, what we have, and furthermore, not to worry about the things of the world. Paul writes about the secret of contentment:

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13

Contentment does not mean you are happy all the time. Contentment is being satisfied with life because you know God is in control. (Source)


Here are a few motivational verses for specific needs of encouragement.

When you need help loving yourself:

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14

God does not make mistakes. You are not a mistake. Nothing about you is a mistake. Your hair is beautiful. Your skin is beautiful. Your size is beautiful. You are beautiful. Most importantly, you are made in the image of God. God created you, modeled you, after himself! Don’t allow yourself to be disappointed with the reflection in the mirror, then you are also disappointed in God and His beautiful, beautiful creation.

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” Samuel 16:7

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

“Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.” 1 Timothy 4:8

Through these verses we see that your spiritual value is not based on your physical appearance. Humans may judge your worth based on outward appearance, but God judges your worth based on what’s in your heart. So, as your running your race, where is your finish line: adornment from humans or adornment from God?

When you need help being content:

“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8

“You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.” James 4:2-3

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrew 13:5

“And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15

“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” Proverbs 14:30

Covet, doubt, and envy are all the opposite of contentment. Why do you think coveting is on the big list of no-no’s (the 10 commandments) right behind murder and adultery? It plants a seed of doubt in God: His promise, His abilities and His existence. When you say “yes” to these things by allowing them into your heart and mind, you say “no” to God’s sovereignty. Allow peace into your life, for your days have been written in a book with God as the author. When you reach a moment of doubt or disappointment don’t stay on that page, instead keep reading. Persevere and pursue God. He is faithful and so worth our trust.

When you need help readjusting your finish line:

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17 

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grieves.” 1 Timothy 6:10

“Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire” 1 Timothy 2:9

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” Matthew 16:26

“Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 5:10

“For where your treasure is, your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

So what are we investing our time, money, and attention on? Is it something that is growing our worldly possessions or our eternal value? Don’t invest in the “meaningless.” For believers, this life isn’t about the money, fame, or possessions. It’s about the kingdom.

The world will always let you down. You will not be pretty enough, rich enough, smart enough, strong enough, talented enough, or just flat out good enough by someone’s standards. How beautiful is it to know that to The One, the creator of the universe, you are enough. Earthly and material things will never fill the space in your heart that was created for Jesus. Let Him in. Let love in. Fix your eyes, your heart, and your destination on Jesus.

Thanks to the Cross and God’s great mercy, we have the pass to live free of these distractions. Jesus died to our sins, so that we no longer have to feel the hurt and grief that accompanies envy, doubt, and discontent. Jesus paid the price and set free our souls to live peacefully with God. Run your race on the track that God has carved out for your life, and always strive to be content with your portion. Your portion was not an accident. Be faithful to it as He is to you.

Choose joy, friends, choose Jesus.

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2

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Inside the Dawg House

Fall is quickly approaching, and with it comes the most wonderful time of the year… football season! This blog post is to show off my new house and the decor we’ve bought or made to get in the spirit for Georgia football.

First, here’s a picture of me and my part time roommate, full time best friend Anna:

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Here is a peek into our dining room:

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The bulldog shakers live in “between the hedges” of the gold tray 😉

Our front door is also a display of our bulldog love. Here is Louie and Anna’s dog, Charlie, channelling their inner dog model.IMG_3714 IMG_3716 IMG_3717

Shakers: $2.99 each at Target

Burlap Door Display: $43 at Heery’s, too! in downtown

Chalkboard: Thrift store picture $4, chalkboard paint, brushes, and chalk roughly $10

Soon to add:

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Pillows are from this etsy shop.

Also, I wanted to share the refinishing projects Anna and I have been doing for our home! We purchased this butcher block kitchen table at America’s thrift store for $40. (Before)

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We stripped the paint and poly, then sanded the blemishes off the surface. (During)

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Then we re-stained the top and repainted the legs white. (During)

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Finished up with one last coat of stain. (After)

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Next, we’re going to stain all the chairs around the table to match the color we stained the table top. Let ya know how it turns out!

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Today is not the day that love won

As of today, gay marriage is legal in all 50 states. For some, this moment brings tears of joy and others are hitting a rock of confusion. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, let it be known that today was not the day that love won.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, please do not find yourself swimming the line between condemnation and confusion. It is completely understandable to have your beliefs and opinions scattered and confused. However, as followers of Jesus, let us not forget our role in society, as given to us from Jesus himself: “Love one another” (John 13:35).

Love only the straight people? No.

Love only the white people? No.

Love only the conservative people? No.

Love only the southern people? No.

Love only the married people? No.

Love only the educated people? No.

Love only the wealthy people? No.

Love only the beautiful people? No.

Love only the honest people? No.

Love only the funny people? No.

Love all the people? Yes.


Love everyone. E v e r y o n e.


Love the people of different sexualities.

Love the people of different races.

Love the people of different political parties.

Love the people of different backgrounds.

Love the people in different life stages.

Love the people with different values.

Love the people without homes.

Love the people without jobs.

Love the people without a degree.

Love the people that lie.

Love the people that spew hate.

Love the people that gossip.

Love the people that sin.

Because we are all sinners (Romans 3:23), and we are all under the same grace (Ephesians 1:7).

Just as a friendly reminder, all sin, whether that’s lying, deceiving, gossip, hatred, homosexuality, and even murder, is equal in the eyes of God (James 2:10-11). I hope is illustration helps.

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Source here

A few things to remember today and everyday:

  1. Nothing surprises God

God is omniscient. His will is infinite, whole, and sovereign. He knows what is going to happen in our lives before we do! (Psalm 139). So as believers, we are foolish to think that the legalization of gay marriage is outside the realm of God or that God is no longer in control. Because He knows everything, we can rest in him.

“Do you understand how the clouds float, those wonderful works of Him who has perfect knowledge? “ Job 37:16

“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.” Psalm 147:5

  1. God loves all people the same

This means you “perfect” Christian. This means you believer with doubt. This means you gay man or woman. This means you nonbeliever. God loves all His children the same, therefore we too should love everyone the same because “God is love,” (1 John 4:8).

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

“But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Proverbs 86:15

  1. God has a way to make all things work together for His good

The depiction of love in this country no longer has limits based on gender. While this movement may be compromising to our beliefs, isn’t this, to a certain extent, what Jesus called us to do? Love our brothers and sisters limitlessly, unconditionally, and unendingly (John 13:34 & 1 John 4:21) So, let’s take this opportunity to continue to show and extend the love of Christ out to all people.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:8

“You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.” Psalm 119:68

  1. Lastly, “5 Things Jesus Would Say to the Gay Community.”

I found so much perspective and comfort in reading this article. Click here.

Jesus walked this Earth as man and defeated sin by living a perfect and holy life. His purpose was to bear the punishment for all of our sins. “Jesus came to pay a debt He did not owe, because we owed a debt we could not pay.” He was mocked, beaten, flogged, and eventually crucified for us. He gave his life for us. He died for us.

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

Jesus’ sacrifice for our lives depicts the beautiful and perfect image of love. It’s only because of Jesus we know how to love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Therefore, today is not the day that love won. Love won on the cross with Jesus’ crucified body. As a nation, let’s celebrate that day even more than we celebrate today. I pray each and every one of you know how much you are loved.

“The Supreme Court can do many things, but the Supreme Court cannot get Jesus back in that tomb. Jesus of Nazareth is still alive. He is still calling the universe toward his kingdom,” (Moore, Washington Post). Hold strong to the word of God and live your life in a manner that is worthy of the Gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27). Choose Jesus, friends.

I leave you with a few more versus of scripture to meditate and reflect on:

“Instead, speak the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Hebrew 12:14

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” Proverbs 10:12

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He is Sovereign in the Valleys and the Peaks

I’m going to start this post with an apology and a disclaimer. First, I want to apologize for going in many different directions in this post. I was so overwhelmed by this message I found myself piecing together scripture and connecting the dots from all over the Bible. I can absolutely see why this may seem like a chaotic mess if you’re not in my head.

Secondly, I want to ask for you patience. I’ve worked on this for hours and hours. After leaving it for a bit, I thought to myself, “I’m not even all that great of a writer. People are going to judge me for this and it’s not going to make sense.” However, I felt peace in knowing that writing this blog post wasn’t for my own glory, but for the glory of God. And He is so deserving of it. I took a leap of faith and trust by putting my fears aside and sharing this with all of you (so please bear with me!).

Lastly, I pray that by reading this you may find some amount of hope and encouragement to trust in the Lord and remain faithful to Him, even during the most difficult times in your life. I pray that some person may find as much encouragement reading this as I found in writing it.


This season in life is particularly difficult for me and as I’m doing my morning devotional, I find myself completely convicted by the message from God. He knew exactly what I needed to hear. (I’m doing a daily devotional through the SheReadsTruth app. I highly recommend this app for ladies out there looking for a good place to start getting into The Word.)

Today’s lesson: Lot’s Wife.

Genesis 19:12-29 & Luke 17:28-33

As the Lord prepared to destroy the immoral cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, He extends His grace and mercy to a man named Lot by sparing him, his wife, and their daughters from the death of the cities. He sent angels down to warn them of the punishment and tell them to flee the city. Lot and his family were given specific instructions from the Lord through the angels:

“Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills lest you be swept away.” Genesis 19:17

We often talk about low and high points in our lives as peaks and valleys. Of course, in the context of Lot’s life, this was literal. The angels were directing him not to stop in the valley, instead go to the mountain top to escape the cities’ destruction. But I can’t help but think of this metaphor while reading this scripture: “Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley.”

Do not look back. Do not stop anywhere in the valley. We cannot obsess about looking back to our pasts and we cannot stop to sulk and complain the valleys of our lives. We must persevere and move forward by completely trusting in the Lord.

It is easy to find yourself slipping into doubt and start questioning the Lord while you’re in a valley (it’s the same way the serpent captured Eve). I’m going through this myself now and I’m guilty of thinking “What did I do to deserve this? How did my life get this way? Why is this happening to me? How can I fix this on my own?” But as believers, we cannot find ourselves “looking back to our old ways” of not trusting God. His will and His timing are perfect and sovereign. Jesus gives us hope during times of confusion in the book of John as he tells Simon Peter:

“Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7

What a beautiful promise the Lord gives us for hope in times of desperation! Nothing can be going your way and it may seem like life is out to get you. You don’t understand now, but someday you will! Someday we will understand the pains of our growing and look back on this time of confusion with peace and understanding. We know this is true because Jesus tells us it is!

Whether you’re on the top of the world or your in the lowest place of your life, find peace and comfort in the fact that God sees you, He knows you, everything you’re going through, and He will never ever leave you.

“I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” Isaiah 49:16

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

What a perfect picture of the intimate relationship Christ has for you. He has inscribed you on the palms on His hands. He knows you. He cares for you. He will never leave you. Being obedient to God isn’t always easy, especially in the low seasons, but if you are faithful to God, He will be faithful to you and you will reap the fruit of your faithfulness.

This faithfulness is described in John 21:1-14 during Jesus’ third appearance to the disciples. The disciples may not have understood why they needed to cast their nets to the right side of the boat. Why not the left side, or the back? However, they responded with obedience and faithfulness to Jesus’ instruction without question. Their obedience was rewarded abundantly. If you listen to God and obey Him, you will be fruitful in the eyes of God.

Unfortunately, Lot’s wife was overcome by doubt and she disobeyed by looking back at the ruined cities. Her act of distrust and disobedience yielded punishment and she was immediately turned into a pillar of salt. Are you running back to sin that God has rescued you from? Do you doubt the Lord’s abilities, His plan, or His will? Are you obeying God?

Our punishment for acts of disobedience may not be as severe as Lot’s wife, but if we are rewarded for faithfulness, then there is surely punishment for distrust. Is God telling you to end a toxic relationship? Is God telling you to spend less time on social media and more time with Him? Is He telling you to stop living in fear for He has a plan?

You probably won’t turn into a pillar of salt, but if you do not listen to what He is telling you, you may experience more pain, disappointment, anxiety, stress, and strain in your relationships with others and with the Father. How quickly do we go back to comfort of old habits and ways of living, even though we know God has a better plan? Jesus warns His disciples of this:

“Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.” Luke 17:32-33

Do not keep your old life, identity, or habits. Be renewed in Him! Next time you find yourself in a valley, pushed to grow by the Lord, and you’re tempted to slip back into the comfort of old habits and decisions, I pray you remember the words of Jesus:

“Remember Lot’s wife.”

Today as I waited for over an hour in my car to be seen by a vet because my dog is so sick they didn’t want him in their facility, I was tempted to slip back into my outspoken temper. “I should call them and ask them how much longer it’s going to take because I was told I would be seen in 15-20 minutes. This is ridiculous. If they won’t see me, I’ll take my dog somewhere else.”

After a deep breath I heard the words pop into my head, “Patience, child.” I let go of the situation, gave it to God, and I felt my anger melt away. Then, within 5 minutes I received a call letting me know they were ready to see me… No nasty phone call needed! Of course I’m not perfect, but in this moment I felt God growing and working on my heart to become more like Him, and for once I passed the test.

Friends, God has given us His greatest grace and mercy. Because of the Gospel, we will not have to live eternally separated from Him. “Though it may be utterly difficult and painful, we must not look back to our former darkness, but run into His saving light” (Isaiah 43:18-19) (Morgan, SheReadsTruth).

Always remember that what we are saved for is much greater than what we are saved from and being obedient to God isn’t always easy, but it’s so worth it.

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