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Sarah Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

Sarah Martin

Live It Out

**This post first appeared on LIVE IT OUT! blog**

I look at my calendar for the month of May and then for the month of June. Each day is up in the air. I have no true plans nor do I really know what our summer looks like. I lift my eyebrows and quell the flutter in my heart. Being Type A does that to you. Having no real plan, I feel like we are on shaky ground. Even the platform wedges I convinced myself to wear on my last date night feel more sturdy than my life at the moment. I'm thinking it's not just the Type A's that would get nervous about a lack of plan or purpose or direction, right?

So after I shared last week (ie. spilled my guts) about the words I use when asked how our move to Texas is going, I've honestly evaluated my words...honestly. Not fun to take a hard look.  And then I took to Scripture rather than the swirling negative thoughts surfacing in my mind. What do we usually do in times like this? Yep...google Scripture. Or do we dig into our go- to Bible verses that we used to doodle in Math class in the seventh grade rather than working on excruciating fractions? Wait...maybe that was just me... Probably was. That was me doodling cute words based off of our go-to Scripture that we usually place on cute magnets or posters with fluffy Kittens that say something like this:

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 NIV)

Yes, this is the go-to verse we tell ourselves (or share with others?) that things are going to be ok. We tell ourselves that God has PLANS, God will PROSPER us, He will give us a great FUTURE. But, FRIENDS!!! Let us not stop at Jeremiah 29:11...please keep reading...verse 12...verse 13...verse14...maybe the whole chapter...maybe the whole book or Jeremiah??

Our intentions might be spot on. We mean so well when we encourage those who are hurting, feel rejected, forgotten by God. We mean so well when we pep ourselves up as our bank accounts lay empty or the job market is not in our favor. God will prosper us...God will fill up our account...God will come through for us with a brand spankin' new house.

But are we seeking after Prosper, Well-being, Hope, Future with our pre-conceived notions about just what true prospering looks like?

Let's be WOMEN who go to the depths beyond the doodling of just the verses that inspire on those cute Facebook or Instagram graphics. Might we keep reading?

11For 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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord...(Jeremiah 29:11-14 emphasis mine)

You will seek ME

You will find ME

says the LORD

Seek, find: with all your HEART.

Let's get bold here, friends! As I look at a house that has not one buyer toward a move where I'm not sure where we will lay our head, Jesus tells me to SEEK HIM for prosper and plans. What if my notion of prospering and future and plans were wrapped up ONLY in who the Bible says God is? A life entangled by the grace of our Lord. It's a grace that tells us to go on with our day, not fretting or head spinning –– ever CONSUMED with seeking after GOD Himself. GOD. HIMSELF.

I look at my calendar for the month of May and then for the month of June. Each day is up in the air. I have no true plans nor do I really know what our summer looks like. I lift my eyebrows and quell the flutter in my heart. Being Type A does that to you. Having no real plan, I feel like we are on shaky ground. Even the platform wedges I convinced myself to wear on my last date night feel more sturdy than my life at the moment. I'm thinking it's not just the Type A's that would get nervous about a lack of plan or purpose or direction, right?

So after I shared last week (ie. spilled my guts) about the words I use when asked how our move to Texas is going, I've honestly evaluated my words...honestly. Not fun to take a hard look.  And then I took to Scripture rather than the swirling negative thoughts surfacing in my mind. What do we usually do in times like this? Yep...google Scripture. Or do we dig into our go- to Bible verses that we used to doodle in Math class in the seventh grade rather than working on excruciating fractions? Wait...maybe that was just me... Probably was. That was me doodling cute words based off of our go-to Scripture that we usually place on cute magnets or posters with fluffy Kittens that say something like this:

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 NIV)

Yes, this is the go-to verse we tell ourselves (or share with others?) that things are going to be ok. We tell ourselves that God has PLANS, God will PROSPER us, He will give us a great FUTURE. But, FRIENDS!!! Let us not stop at Jeremiah 29:11...please keep reading...verse 12...verse 13...verse14...maybe the whole chapter...maybe the whole book or Jeremiah??

Our intentions might be spot on. We mean so well when we encourage those who are hurting, feel rejected, forgotten by God. We mean so well when we pep ourselves up as our bank accounts lay empty or the job market is not in our favor. God will prosper us...God will fill up our account...God will come through for us with a brand spankin' new house.

But are we seeking after Prosper, Well-being, Hope, Future with our pre-conceived notions about just what true prospering looks like?

Let's be WOMEN who go to the depths beyond the doodling of just the verses that inspire on those cute Facebook or Instagram graphics. Might we keep reading?

11For 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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord...(Jeremiah 29:11-14 emphasis mine)

You will seek ME

You will find ME

says the LORD

Seek, find: with all your HEART.

Let's get bold here, friends! As I look at a house that has not one buyer toward a move where I'm not sure where we will lay our head, Jesus tells me to SEEK HIM for prosper and plans. What if my notion of prospering and future and plans were wrapped up ONLY in who the Bible says God is? A life entangled by the grace of our Lord. It's a grace that tells us to go on with our day, not fretting or head spinning –– ever CONSUMED with seeking after GOD Himself. GOD. HIMSELF.

 

 

Prosper- A live engangled with the Grace (1)

Prosper: A life rich with knowledge of the Gospel.  LIVING OUT! the Gospel. Loving God first, loving others. Living bold faith coupled with servant love. Doing relationships out of a love for Jesus first.

Laying up treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6) rather than clinging to an ideal of that which distracts us from a fulfilled, ever close relationship with the King of Kings. Those earthly treasures fade shortly after the tags are ripped off and we wear once.

Future: That to look forward to while we do life differently to make Jesus famous right here and right now. Living heaven minded while we serve and love others right where we are. A wild paradox of future verses our life's purpose at this MOMENT.  Entangled with loving and serving God here on earth and enthralled with the notion of the face to face one day when He returns.

Hope: Completely wrapped in the Gospel. Jesus, {God HIMSELF} lived the sinless life, died to pay the price for our sin, raised to LIFE--victorious over death. We have access to SEEK GOD with all our heart (Jeremiah 29:13). That is our hope daily whether we've known Jesus as Lord for 50 years or 5 minutes. Oh that we won't take the Gospel for granted.

Prosper, Future, Hope: Tied up in the very PERSON of Jesus.

Seek

Find

Seek with a heart desperate for things, plans, future more than a house, money, shopping spree, shiny car, dream job, Pinterest perfect family...seek with a heart flat out desperate for Jesus Himself.

That is how I move forward with the chaotic calendar for the month of May and however long God has us in this transition. Seek. God. HIMSELF.

Whew! What do you think?

Leave a comment...let's chat!

Oh The Words We Use

My little guy was quite chatty in our car ride after school yesterday. Usually I get the obligatory "fine" or "good" upon asking about school, recess, or lunch. (His two favorite subjects at school, of course) So you better believe I fed into it with absolute and utter interest in his chatter about super heros and playground antics that led to mud stains on his jeans. For this super hero talk would surely lead to more words to discover how the day truly unfolded. And so it did. And so I discovered that my little first grader received a warning for talking too much in class. Gasp!  

While trying to play the *responsible* mom, I calmly reminded him the importance of listening, learning, and keeping thy mouth shut during teaching times. On the other hand, the chatty cathy in me inwardly cheered my guy on. Why? I saw myself in that moment. You see, little Sarah Francis often received reprimands in school for talking too much. And look how great I turned out? *wink wink* It could be said that I haven't shut my mouth since those days...ahem...

In fact, I actually haven't shut my mouth. Oh the words we use. 

Kind friends ask how our transition is going, how the house selling is moving along. With a toss of my hair and a roll of my eyes, the complaints come blathering out of my mouth. You see, this transition is not going as planned. Not one bite on our house. Tick tock, Lord!

Oh the words we use. This outward dialogue with my friends peels back a layer in my heart. Dare I actually say it out loud: my heart is not finding rest in God's agenda and timeline. I cringe at the reminder of Scripture that says,

A person full of goodness in his heart produces good things; a person with an evil reservoir in his heart pours out evil things. The heart overflows in the words a person speaks; your words reveal what’s within your heart. (Luke 6:45 THE VOICE)

Is this really what is in my heart: distrust and unbelief? Surly not! Wait...is it? But these are the words I choose, the words I use, rather than bold declarations. Bold declarations that I'm leaning on the path that I know God has already laid before us. My friend Maggie, one smart chick, reminds me of a phrase...fake it till you make it.

Oh these were words I used to use while pounding the pavement in my tailored suit in that long forgotten role of sales person. Those years are long gone. Maybe there's something to be said for it, this fake it till you make it.

Maybe bold declarations that I know in my head (believing God for this transition unfolding in God's best timing) will migrate down to my heart. Will I be humble enough to admit that I'm still figuring it all out––that dark corners of my heart still exist full of trust issues? Yes bold declarations, even if I'm faking it just a bit, stand effective in changing my disposition toward my current circumstances.

Oh the words we use serve as a measuring stick of our current heart condition.

Might we be willing to evaluate our words––take a hard look at the effect they spill on our lives and even those around us.

So here I go, determined to trade hair flips, eye rolls, and complaints with authentic words founded on truth. You see, we can fake it till we make it, yes. We can make those bold declarations of belief even when our heart is not quite there yet because we stand on the Word that never changes...never fakes us out. The words He uses, our all knowing Author of our faith, are true, good, steadfast, everlasting. This is even when we are tempted to look at our watch and live frustrated over the unseen timeline.

 

Oh the words we use

For me today this looks like a shift in focus. Rather than dwelling on that end goal of moving, building a new life in Texas, I'm simply going to dwell on God. That's it. Just God. I'm standing on the words God uses to direct my focus toward what's most important, eternal. I know in my head that when I seek Him with all my heart I will find Him. He is the end plan. The end goal. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that the plans He has for us are good. WE often stop at verse 11. Oh let us not read forget to read on to 13 and 14: Seek God. He will be found. He is the end goal.

 

What does this look like for YOU today? What are the words YOU use? How can you declare bold statements of faith to turn your words around so that your end goal is God HIMSELF? 

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If you would like to read more about bold declarations of faith I write about it in Just RISE UP!: A Call To Make Jesus Famous. Would be honored if you would click HERE to check it out! Just RISE UP! Cover  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All my complaining about my house not selling in my timely manner convicts me...big time. There are those without out a house...with out the ones they love in Nepal. My family has committed to give to Samaritans Purse in their relief efforts in Nepal. Click HERE to give. nepal_earthquake_donation_header_764x460

When My God Shows Off

**This post originally appeared on LIVE IT OUT! blog***

Everyday I take my "lunch break" and I catch up on the daily news. (I'm a recovering news junkie) With a mouth full of PB&J on wheat bread, a particular story caught my attention. Maybe it was because this story was not about the latest terror or protests or political scandal. Maybe it was because I was just in a quiet, introspective mood...a mood to really think deep about things during my break from writing that day.

The Comet has a name: Siding Spring. I honestly don't know the significance of that name but I like it. Siding Spring made it's debut on our news cycle this week because after a million years, it was bound for a close encounter with Mars. Did you catch that? For a MILLION years this huge mass of space matter has made it's way through space. And, thanks to modern technology, we have the opportunity spectate the event.

The thought of this ancient comet swirls around my mind and makes it's way to my heart as I make sense of it in my simple minded way...

What is the purpose of this massive universe that we live in yet don't fully experience or see for ourselves?

Why would God create such a universe that expands beyond the knowledge of even the most intelligent of our society? 

What do we, as every day people not employed at NASA, do with the knowledge of the great expanses of our universe created by God Almighty?

What? Why? What

Because HE CAN.

Because HE is God. And we are small. Thank goodness He is God and gives us a glimpse into His big-ness, His grandeur. I feel small. And I should, don't you think? For in my small-ness there is no room for the pride which erupts in my know-it-all heart and mind. There is no room for us to elevate ourselves and our grand plans because it is simply an impossibility. God is BIG and we are small.

That is it. Period.

But, oh in His big-ness and graciousness our Lord is not pre-occupied in the vast universe. No. He reaches down His strong yet comforting arm and loves us...His prized creation.

And He Shows Off.

My God shows off.

Your God shows off.

You see, the comet making it's million year old appearance makes me smile. If God shows His might and power and great-ness through a comet, I am confident He will show off in my life and in yours.

 

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But do we have eyes to see and hearts to recognize His glory when it is right in front of us?

Today I'm looking for God to show off in even the mundane in my life. I'm looking for His favor as He pours out joy and peace when I need that grounding as my mind spins in turmoil even when I perform tasks as unloading the dishwasher. I'm looking at God showing off as I hear the sweet breaths of my six year old who finally settles down and rests after a long day of play and school. I'm looking for God to show off when I come to Him with my need for approval and acceptance. He whispers through His Word and into my heart that I am approved and accepted no matter what.

Let us not forget that our Great God does not need our applause or our adoration when He shows off. No. He doesn't need it, but wants it. There is something that releases in us when we put aside our own ego and make much of Jesus. We have the privilege of joining in with the heavenlies to praise the One who makes the earth spin, the moon reflect, the sun radiate, the stars burst with beauty.

Yes. My God shows off daily.

Yes. Your God shows off big time.

O Eternal, our Lord, Your majestic name is heard throughout the earth; Your magnificent glory shines far above the skies. {Psalm 8:1 The Voice}

Will you stop today and thank Him for His big-ness and for your own small-ness? He is worthy of our notice and admiration.

How is God showing off in your life today? What challenges do you find in opening your heart and mind to see with faith-filled eyes His goodness? I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment!
photo credit: Adam Foster | Codefor via photopin cc

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***Don't forget! The Just RISE UP! online study starts November 3! It's not too late to sign up and take part. CLICK HERE for info.

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