Our God is able….But if not…

My mind has reverted to a couple verses in Daniel recently as I’ve thought about the Lord’s activity in my life and around me.

I went through Beth Moore’s Daniel study several years ago when I still lived in Orlando, and it caused my spiritual eyes to be awakened to that magnificent book (as well as Revelation since the two are so connected).  That Bible study packs a mighty theological punch that will make you long for the return of our Savior and fall more in love with Him while we wait.

I just love these verses:

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.  If this be so our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But if not, but it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Daniel 3:16-18

Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego stood faithful to God and literally faced the fire.  They knew that God was able to save them from the flames.  They knew He could.  But they also knew He might not.  And that didn’t make their faith waver.  God was able to save them, but if He didn’t He was still God.

What a faith!  What a testimony to hearts in tune with their Maker’s!  They would not compromise.  They would proclaim the greatness of God no matter what the outcome of their situation.

I’ve been thinking a lot about praying for things, good things (like healing for the sick, rest for the weary, families being together, financial provisions).  I know wholeheartedly that my God is able to heal, restore, provide, help.  But sometimes those things don’t happen, at least in the way our earthly minds see.  He is perfectly able.  But there are times His way of healing and restoring, providing and helping looks a lot different than we anticipated or desired.  Even when the answers to our prayers are different than we hoped, He is still God; He is always good; He is forever faithful.

Three examples grip my heart at the moment:

We prayed for my dad to get a job in Nashville so they wouldn’t have to add another move to the Mitchel moving repertoire, but he got one based in Dallas.  There is no doubt that God provided, but there are uncertainties and heartache involved .

So many prayed for healing from cancer for a couple different men who were very close family friends and spiritual influences over the years.  We fervently prayed that they would be healed and continue to be the amazing disciples, husbands, fathers, and friends that they were.  But they were welcomed home into heaven instead.  God surely healed them of all worldly pain and sorrow and sin, but they left behind mourning wives, devastated children, and heartbroken friends.

The summer before my senior year of high school a friend died in a car accident.  We gathered together in prayer while she was in the hospital and hoped for a miracle.  But that miracle didn’t come.  I know God heard our prayers, but His will wasn’t to restore her body and let her continue growing up.

These are just a few of the many situations my heart has been flooded with as I’ve pondered these verses from Daniel recently.  All I know is, my God is able.  And He is always good and faithful.  Always.  He is God.  And He knows best.  He can heal.  But even if He doesn’t, He is still God.  He is able to provide.  But even if it looks completely different from what we thought was best, He is still God.  He uses all for His glory, our sanctification, and His Kingdom.

May we face the day resting assured of who the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is.  May we continue to pour our hearts to our Father and know He hears our passionate pleas.  May we delight in the goodness, faithfulness, and immutability of our God.

He is God.  He is faithful.  He is good.

Always.

Along this same thought is the song “Burn Us Up” from Shane and Shane.  They always have a way of ministering to my heart.

Hear the story behind the song here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqGsZKD2jLY

And here is the actual song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70PDuymQ_h0

Dive Into the Old Testament

When people read Scripture, I think they tend to read more in the New Testament.  Believers love pouring over the gospels and the letters, which is without a doubt wonderful.  But the New Testament doesn’t make sense without the Old Testament.  The Old is the context for the New.  You can’t have the New without the Old.  And the Bible those first believers had was the Old Testament.

I’ve always been intrigued with the Old Testament.  Some of my favorite classes in college were the Old Testament ones.  And anytime I get to read something that sparks a greater love for those unique books I jump at it.

Recently I read two books that further instilled in me a desire to know my spiritual history more.  Francine Rivers’ book The Warrior and Priscilla Shirer’s book One in a Million are two fantastic books that bring you back to the roots of the Christian faith and the work the Lord did establishing His people.  The Warrior is a fiction book based on Caleb that truly grabs your attention and makes you turn to the pages of the Word and study him, his character, and his relationship with Joshua.  One in a Million deals with these same people and why they were allowed to go into the Promised Land.  Out of the two million Israelites that were redeemed from slavery in Egypt, only two were allowed into the promised land.  Shirer does a great job of giving the context of the Israelites’ years in the wilderness and why only two were allowed in, and she then applies it to modern day believers so that we can claim our inheritance without wandering.

These books were wonderful because of their ability to make you want to dive into the Word and study it for yourself.  I definitely recommend them.  They are easy to read and capture your attention.  And the best part is that the authors grab your attention and then turn it to Scripture.  Cheers to authors that can do that!

photo 3

Hi, I’m Sarah. And I’m an introvert.

It’s true.

I’m an introvert.

Surprised?  Depending on what phase of life you know me from, you might be, or you might say, “Well of course you are!”

For most of my life I felt like I had to either change my personality to be more extroverted or just apologize for my introverted ways.  But the Lord has really taught me so much in the past few years about the way He creates people differently and how each individual personality is needed to complete the body of Christ and impact the Kingdom.

This time apart from Spencer has reminded me of how great of a team we are.  There are several ways we are different.  But we have learned that our differences can really compliment each other.  We’ve learned to communicate about how we each process things, deal with being around groups of people and different personalities, and handle various situations.

I am someone who really enjoys alone time.  Give me a comfy chair, cup of tea, and book and I’m happily content.  Being around lots of people or even just spending lots of time with people individually can wear me out.  I always need time to rejuvenate and rest afterwards.

But Spencer has a way of reenergizing me. Being with him constantly encourages me.  Being with him allows me to feel safe and comfortable being me.  He always ministers to my heart.  He loves me for me.  His love has taught me more about the love of Christ than anything ever has.  And I’m more than ready for him to be home!

All this to say, I’ve been reminded of my introverted personality while Spencer has been gone.

And I’ve been reminded of how God has created us all differently for a reason.

So whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, be who you are with confidence knowing that God has a reason for creating you the way He did.

Maybe you aren’t quite sure what you are and need to learn more about yourself.  The best book I’ve read that helps you figure out your personality is Vessels and Flowers. Check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/Vessels-and-Flowers-ebook/dp/B00A2ZJ3S8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372033876&sr=8-1&keywords=vessels+and+flowers  The authors do an excellent job of revealing the ways different personalities function.

Once you begin to understand your own personality, you can better understand how to serve in the body of Christ and expand the Kingdom.  Our God is so creative and amazing.  He knows what He’s doing.  He is faithful and can be trusted.  It’s time to embrace who He has created us to be and serve Him in the best ways we each can not expecting others to be who they aren’t.  Let’s begin to appreciate different personalities.  The Kingdom will grow when there is unity in the body.

I’m an introvert.  And I don’t need to apologize for that.

 

This Book Will Change Your Life

Punch fear in the face.

Escape average.

Do work that matters.

Those are the subtitles to Jon Acuff’s newest book Start.  And this book most definitely delivers those messages.  Whether you are a student trying to figure out what the next step is, a stay-at-home mom figuring out how to best serve your family, a fifty-year-old back in the job market, or just desiring to live to your fullest potential this book is for you.  In fact, I would recommend this book to everyone.  It’s just that good.

Acuff invites you into his own personal journey of taking the steps necessary to get to where he is in his dream job.  He vulnerably shares his story, failures and triumphs.  He writes in a personable and humorous way.  He gives practical applications and plenty of real life stories from people.

At one time, even just a generation ago, there was a very distinct path people followed in their careers.

In your 20s you were in the period of learning.

In your 30s you were in the period of editing.

In your 40s you were in the period of mastering.

In your 50s you were in the period of harvesting.

In your 60s you were in the period of guiding.

People went to school, picked a field of work, stuck with a certain company for their working life, and then retired.

But things have changed.  Factors like the internet, social media, fleeting idea of retirement, and a new generation’s desire to be significant have completely changed what it takes and looks like to be successful.  So now, those five stages (learning, editing, mastering, harvesting, guiding) can be applied to any age.

The words of Acuff really do apply to all sorts of walks of life.  He will challenge you, inspire you, encourage you and cause you to investigate your own passions, desires, fears.  If you allow his words to sink in, you will be a better person for it.

 

Read Start.  It really is more than just a book.  It is a movement.  God truly is using Acuff to build His kingdom and encourage disciples to embrace the abundant life God offers.  This book can change your life!

photo-1

Quitter by Jon Acuff: A MUST Read

I know very few people who actually love their job and know it is what they should do forever.  The usual case is that people are working in order to provide for their families.  And usually, people have some longing within them to do something else.  There is a hidden or suppressed dream they have convinced themselves cannot become reality.

Finances.

Age.

Location.

Time.

Risk.

Education.

Fear.

Some reason or another halts dreams and shouts they cannot be accomplished.

But the truth is dreams are meant to be lived not just quietly stepped over and ignored.

Jon Acuff reveals practical insight and mounds of wisdom in Quitter about closing the gap between your day job and your dream job.  He is a testimony to following your dreams in a wise, careful, and joyful way.  It’s not easy.  It takes time.  But a dream can be chased after and made into reality.  Filled with humor, you are sure to laugh and become a quick fan of Acuff.  You will follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook, and order his new book which released today, Start.  I have no doubt.  You will be equipped for the road ahead towards your dream.

We have dreams.  Some have been things we’ve desired for years.  Others have come about more recently.  We want to be able to live off of our Juice Plus business and upcoming photography business.  And it will happen.  We have no doubt.  It will take some time.  It will require lots of hard work.  But we will do it.  Living out these dreams will allow us to adopt, travel, write, live where we choose.

Everyone has dreams.  Many don’t see how they can practically be worked out.  Acuff provides the encouragement, hope, steps, and insight you need to make it happen.

Read Quitter.  Your life will be changed for the better.

photo

the Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler

I just finished reading the Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler.

It is a wonderful book filled with Matt Chandler’s heart for the Lord and for the Church to truly grab hold of the whole gospel.  And I most definitely recommend it.  Chandler writes in an easy to read, yet academic way that I found intriguing.

Chandler splits the book into two parts dealing with the gospel on the ground and the gospel in the air.  The gospel on the ground is basically Jesus coming to Earth to redeem people from their sins and bring them back into right relationship with God.  The gospel in the air is God redeeming all of creation for His glory.  He gives great examples as to why you can’t have just one or the other approach to the gospel in regards to evangelism and discipleship.  Both are needed.  Both are the explicit gospel.

The Explicit Gospel will bring you back to your roots and remind you of what really matters.  You should take time to read this book.  Christians in America need it.  And even if you tell yourself you already know what the gospel is, you should still read it.  Chandler does a remarkable job of bringing the reader back to Scripture, as well as using the thoughts of early Christian thinkers to inform the reader, engage the reader in theological teachings, and allow the reader to feel the responsibility to pass the message along.  He wrote a book that needs to be read.  And nonbelievers need us to read it, so we can be better equipped to share the gospel, the true gospel, to those without hope.

Explicit Gospel

YOU need to watch this A.S.A.P.

Spencer and I rented the documentary Forks Over Knives from our library this past weekend.

Forks Over Knives

I’ve heard so much about it recently, but we were waiting for a time to be able to watch it together.  We like to process things together and be on the same page.  So when it comes to health and wellness, we want to learn together and be on this journey together.

We sat down for 90 minute presentation of a profound claim that food can be your medicine, phenomenal research, and jaw-dropping testimonies and results.

This changed our lives.

We want everyone we love to watch this 2011 enlightening work.  Please.

There is no way for me to accurately relay the information that was so well presented on the screen.  The research, medical findings, and personal stories shed light on the amazing healing power of plant-based whole foods.

Read about it here:  http://www.forksoverknives.com

Watch it on Netflix.

Rent it from the library.

Whatever it takes…watch it.

And then let me know what you think.