Category Archives: Z – Verse

Z-Verse | Science Vs. God | March 9, 2015

What I told an atheist online who said science disproved the existence of God.

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”
– 1 Corinthians 1:25

Thank God Everything’s Falling Apart

Sometimes we go through seasons where everything seems to fall apart around us. In these times, we shouldn’t feel abandoned by God, we should feel more loved than ever.

Seriously.

I know that sounds weird, but here’s the thing, God will often let things in our lives fall apart when they are standing in the way of Him. This isn’t done out of spite, or to hurt us, but out of love, to heal us, to grow us and for reasons that don’t always make sense to us now.

Like a parent who removes the training wheels from their child’s bike, above their cries and objections. That father or mother knows, what the child doesn’t–that the very thing that once held them up, now holds them back.

It’s a matter of trust more than anything.

Do we believe that God knows best. That He is rooting for us? That He’s in control? That He is actively working in our lives for His glory and the good of others, as well as our own? That He loves us and wants to do things in and through us that we probably wouldn’t even dream of?

See, He knows what we are capable of, He has big plans for us. But to get there, we’ve gotta trust.

Obey.

Surrender.

We’ve gotta let Him take control and take away anything that’s in the way of where He wants to take us.

God often adds through subtraction.

The things we’re holding on to aren’t real anyway. They may provide the mirage of security and control, or the illusion of happiness and success, but we know better.

And they’re often things we are relying on other than Him. False hopes. Security blankets. Training wheels.

Monuments to the trust we have in us.

Testaments to the lack of trust we have in God.

Idols, really.

If God is removing things from our lives, we are better off without them.

When our lives seem to be falling apart, often what we’re seeing are just the first, messy steps of the rebuild God has begun in our lives. The glorious ruins.

It’s evidence that God is at work in our lives. Stripping away the things keeping us from Him, and all He has planned for us. A chance to tear down our kingdom and begin making a difference in His.

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
Luke 6:46-49 NLT

Only when He is first, can our lives be put back together. Beautifully. And truly built to last.

The tough part is in the middle. After the hurt, but before the healing.

That is when you must hold on tighter than you ever knew you could. Seek God first. Follow Jesus with everything you’ve got.

Trade in the life that may look good from the outside, for one that actually is.

This means some hardcore demolition, for a season. As any home remodeler (or HGTV watcher) knows, ripping out the junk creates a real mess.

When you walk into the kitchen and see the project half way through, you know there’s no turning back. You’re all in.
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The enemy wants us to believe that the picture above is where our story ends–that God has abandoned us there.

But our current circumstances aren’t where it ends. It gets real ugly before it gets beautiful. There’s a lot of dust and dirt and a giant disaster before anything awesome happens.

If God is helping you with that, don’t hate Him, THANK Him.
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Keep your eye on the prize, focus on where God’s taking you.

Always rest in the truth of His Word:

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
Romans 8:28 NLT


More: Hillsong Worship

Un-stuck In The Middle

Saw a great tweet today from @ChristineCaine:

Throughout the Bible, God says things to us like ‘fear not‘ and ‘don’t be afraid‘.

In fact, He says them a lot.

He tells us to be anxious for nothing and to trust in Him. He promises to never leave us and to never forsake us.

And the pages of God’s Word are packed with the stories of normal, broken people who, despite their fears, frailties and failures in their past, trusted Him enough to obey Him, and did crazy awesome things for God.

Fear and faith cannot exist together.

Faith is described in Hebrews 11:1 as being “certain of what we do not see.” It is an absolute belief that God is constantly working behind the scenes in every area of our lives, even when there is no tangible evidence to support that fact.
– via gotquestions.org

If you’ve got a level hanging around the house, pull it out of the toolbox and play with it for a minute. Try to get that bubble in the middle.

See, that level almost perfectly illustrates the struggle between fear and faith in our lives.

Think of the left side as FEAR and the right side as FAITH. When the bubble is on the left, it’s as far away from faith as possible–there’s nothing but fear.

When it’s on the right side, faith is in control and there’s no fear to be found.

The problem is, most of us live in the middle. We’re living a delicate, exhausting balancing act where any little bump can send us one way or the other.

The thing is, God hates the middle. And so do we, if we’re honest.

We’re just close enough to great faith to taste it and feel its power–to know it’s really there–but never take that leap of faith and experience the life God intended for us. A life not ruled by our fears.

Yet it’s the very fear we want to overcome that keeps us from the faith we need to do so.

That’s why they call it a leap of faith.

We’ve gotta get as far away from the fear that keeps us from faith, as possible.

The beauty is, the more we move toward faith, the further we get from those fears. And the stronger our faith grows, the smaller our fears become.

As a boy, David fought a bear and a lion, which gave him the faith to believe that God would help him take on Goliath.

In 1 Samuel 17:37, David says, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear WILL DELIVER ME from the hand of this Philistine.”

David chose to feed his faith and starve his fear, but imagine if he had done the opposite.

What if after the first run-in with a lion or bear he had never gone back to that field?

Or what if David had chosen to run away from that first ferocious animal and spent the rest of his life telling anyone who would listen about the night he barely got away from that lion? Cool story, but so much less than God had planned for him.

His destiny and, as it turns out, all of human history would’ve been completely different.

Instead, his faith was rewarded with victory, diminishing his fear and building his faith even further. Those successes gave him the confidence to be courageous and do even greater things. And eventually be king!

And yet, doubt and fear never completely go away. Even for a man like David. But he knew the key to keeping fear at bay. Look what he wrote in Psalm 56:3, “when I am afraid, I will trust in You!”

That’s a good plan for us too.

Let’s be brave. Let’s trust in God, stop living in the middle and take that leap of faith.

More: Christine Caine
Bethel Music

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Z-Verse | Acts 9 | Suddenly | Nov 17, 2014

Our verse of the day is in Acts 9. Just go ahead and read the whole chapter real quick, the story’s just awesome.

Saul has been killing Christians, and he’s on his way to Damascus, papers in hand, to round up believers and bring them back to Jerusalem to torture and kill them.

He, literally, sees the light on his way there.

Verse 18 says, “IMMEDIATELY something like scales fell from eyes.”

Verse 20 says, “AT ONCE, he began to preach that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Two things jump out at me here.

1.) Things can seem completely hopeless and God can change everything in an instant.

Don’t give up hope.

How many times do we read that word suddenly in the Bible?

2.) We are never too far gone for God to do something in and through us.

I mean Saul was murdering Christians! Families, women and children! God still used him to write two thirds of the New Testament!

I love verse 21, it says that all who heard, “were astonished!”

I bet there are some people in our past that would be astonished if they saw us right now (hopefully in a good way!)

There are also probably some people in our lives, that if God got ahold of them, we’d be astonished.

Let’s let that affect how we treat the people in our lives who are living far from God right now. The people who seem, to many, to be beyond hope. (People like Saul before God changed everything in an instant and he became the Apostle Paul.)

Let’s remember how much God loves them and let’s try to love them the same way!

More: The Z

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Quick Quote | Tullian Tchividjian: On God’s Acceptance

Wanted to share a great quote from Tullian Tchividjian:

“God’s acceptance of us cannot be gained by our successes nor forfeited by our failures.”

God loves us. Period.

We can’t earn it.

Our failures don’t finish us.

The enemy whispers lies in our ear, telling us that that we’re not good enough or that God can’t use us because of our past.

But here’s the thing, God often uses us more BECAUSE of our failures.

He specializes in taking the broken and making it beautiful. He heals the unfixable. He breathes life into dry bones, turns hearts of stone into hearts of flesh, makes what’s dead come to life.

The truth is we’re NOT good enough.

But we don’t have to be.

If we’re truly following Jesus, God sees us not for what we’ve done, but what He did on our behalf.

God’s response to our genuine repentance? He’s chosen to not only forgive, but to totally forget.

When we turned from sin, He took our mistakes and failures and instead of filing them away somewhere to use against us down the road, He sent them to a place so far away we can’t even measure or describe.

He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
– Psalm 103:12

Let’s accept God’s acceptance.

That’s when we’ll be free to be all that God already sees in us and to live out the future He has planned for us!

More:
Tullian Tchividjian
Not A Fan (Kyle Idleman)

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Fix It

The old phase, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” is definitely true.

The dictionary defines tough as strong enough to withstand adverse conditions or rough or careless handling. Synonyms include durable, strong, resilient and long-lasting.

When problems arise, as they eventually will, the tough, buckle down.

They strap in for the bumpy ride.

They rally.

They focus.

They don’t turn tail and run.

The tough understand that giving up, is not only intentional failure, it’s not even easier.

I think it’s also true that when the going gets tough, the non-tough don’t get going.

They just go.

Either by just shutting down and trudging through a stream of days on auto-pilot or by actually going. Bailing. Running.

It’s an understandable instinct. Who doesn’t wanna run when it hurts? When it’s hard? When it seems hopeless?

But, in a broken world, filled with broken people, we can’t simply throw them away when things go wrong, anymore than we’d junk our car if we had a flat tire.

When I break a pair of cheap sun glasses, I sigh, throw them out and head to the dollar store.

Buying a new car every time a tire goes flat, a headlight burns out, or the brakes go doesn’t make any sense.

So, why do we approach a cracked windshield differently than those cheap sunglasses?

We place much greater value on the car.

Whether we decide to work on what’s broken or throw it away, tells us how much we value it.

And ignoring that flat tire or squealing brakes only leads to bigger issues, often with disastrous and costly consequences.

Let’s think of the people in our lives as less disposable.

Let’s live out the 16 things 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says love is, isn’t, does and doesn’t even when they don’t!

“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres 8 Love never fails….”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Something to think about…

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Quick Thought: Life Is Hard, God is Good

A couple of years ago, my friend Jason and I were talking about some of life’s challenges when he said something profound.

“Life is hard. God is good.”

He told me that was the quote that he was living by and something he tried to remember no matter how dark a particular day might be.

I honestly can’t count the number of times those words have echoed in my mind in the years since we had that conversation. Maybe every single day. And each time, they not only ring true, but ring through the noise and help hit the reset button in my mind.

Those words seem to be a pretty good summation of Lamentations 3, which I encourage you to read.

I also encourage you to remember that no matter how difficult your circumstances may be right now, God is for you, He is on your side, and He is FAITHFUL!

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