the beautiful is coming

Maybe you’re in the ugly today.

An ugly situation that you wish you could change. A heart you want God to revive. You just want flowers and spring but your heart is caught in the dead of winter.

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Deuteronomy 8 doesn’t just promise that God has a purpose in the unexpected, it promises even more. { read part one here }

This has unexpectedly become one of my favorite chapters in Scripture. Let me tell you, that once you begin to study God’s Word, once the Holy Spirit begins to speak to you and come alive through the pages of The Word, you get hooked. It’s become this way with the chapter I’m reading, I can’t put it down. I can’t rush through it because I don’t want to. I think there is enough truth and promises in this chapter to read it every day and never get tired of it.

So here’s part two.

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.

Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. -Deuteronomy 8:7-14

After the promise of holy in the hard at the beginning of the chapter, God promises to bring His people to a beautiful season.

If I had to guess I would imagine that you’re either walking through a season that is difficult, or have at some point in your life.

The beautiful thing about our God is that He promises redemption for every season. Although your heart has been bowed low in this valley, God is redeeming that unexpected challenge, and bringing you up to a good place. A full place. A satisfying place.

This land he is bringing you into-it is not mediocre. It is no less than the most glorious season you could imagine. Because in your darkness He is bringing the incredible light of His goodness. A rich land. Where your soul’s joy will abound. A land where you will be given diamonds-the good things you longed for and thought you could manufacture up on your own.

The rubble will be exchanged for rubies.

The dirty pebbles you held onto and thought so beautiful-the ones who didn’t want to let go-they’ll fall from your hands as Jesus places in your palms the most beautiful pearls. This place and this new season of beauty will still hold hard days and confusing emotions, but you will be satisfied.

Trust that Jesus is bringing a beautiful season in your life, even if you are in the dark today. Trust that His light will come bursting forth. Trust that He hasn’t given up on you, even if you feel like giving up, or even if you have. You may be finished, you may be tired, you may be bored of who you are and where you are but He is not.

You will come to be satisfied because of where you have been, and where you have walked. Because you will have learned that any hint of goodness is from the Lord, and is a gift. You will have learned that apart from His strength you can’t put your feet on the floor and get out of bed each morning.

 

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Because of where you have been, you will bless the Lord for where He is bringing you.

You shall eat and be full because you have been brought to the place where you know who gives the food and His face is the only face you see.

This doesn’t promise that you will be brought by the Lord to the scenario in your life you’ve always wanted. Often King Jesus loves us far too much to give us what we want. He gives us what He wants and slowly tunes our hearts until His will is our fullest, most vibrant desire.

When you have been brought to this season of joy, don’t make the mistake of thinking once again that you can do it on your own. Don’t look back constantly, but when you do, do it to remember how faithful God has been. Do it to surrender the future because you know God has brought you this far.

Unless you are continually fighting to find your joy in Jesus Christ alone, you will always be pulled back to wandering in the wilderness, no matter what season God brings you to.

So when this season comes and the blessings come, don’t set your heart on the given, but on the Giver. The beautiful is coming-even if you don’t see it today. The greatest thing about our Jesus is the hope that He gives us, that even if the beautiful never comes in this life, it will be full and complete when we are with our Savior together.

for you, if you’ve met the unexpected

Five little verses.

Five little verses is all that it took for God to shake me, speak to me, show me, a truth I know I’ll never let go.

Five little verses=one big truth.

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It’s Deuteronomy 8:2-6.

 And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing Him.

God brought the Israelites to an unexpected place. An unexpected waiting. He brought them to this place in their lives so that the genuineness of their faith would be proven. Isn’t that just like our God, to give us what we do not understand so that the strong roots of our faith would sink down and grow firmly rooted in the sovereignty of our Almighty God.

Isn’t it like our God to bring us out to wander in the wilderness for forty years-or however long He would have us wait-to teach us that He is sufficient to sequester every longing of our heart and to fill every hunger.

And even when The Lord leads His children to unexpected trials, the solution and healing He brings is also different than we would expect. God “fed them with manna which they did not know.” His solution to the trial He had brought to His children was the only sufficient solution. Because His ways are so much greater, they are hardly what we expect.

God lets us feel the emptiness of everything so that we might know the fullness of Him. He loves us way too much to let us be content with temporary satisfaction.

So whether God has you in a season of waiting for 40 years, or 4 months, He is always faithful to provide. The Israelites never went hungry. In His hand is all you need to be content in whatever place you are right now.

Pain and waiting teach our hearts to find fulfillment, healing, comfort, and complete satisfaction in God alone. God disciplines us for our good. God brings us through pain for our good. In our limited minds, we see good as being today. But our God sees good as something far greater.

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He lets us know loss, so that He might become our greatest gain. Loss of a job. Loss of a friend. Loss of a person. Loss of our expectations. So that we might find our all in Him, and not the trinkets of the world that are quick to grab our attention and even quicker to fade away.

Let us not think for a moment, that Our God-who holds the stars in their galaxies and breathes life into all that lives and moves and has its being-doens’t know what He is doing in our lives. It is something beautiful.

This resting and trusting in His plan summons us to obedience. We obey because in the season we do not understand or did not expect, He is working in us a peculiar glory that we will get only because of what we have walked through. Fearing God, obeying Him, resting in what He is doing and surrendering our hearts to Him, this is our greatest good. Because He loves us so perfectly, and the moment we believe we would be happier in different circumstances is the moment we have ceased to believe that His love is perfect for us.

 

insecurity and I broke up

Insecurity and I broke up last night.

April 13, 2016–

been there. over. done.

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I never thought of myself as being held captive by insecurity.

I never thought it was the source of so much hurt and hindrance.

I never thought it was the breeding ground of the fear and lack of confidence in my life.

I never thought it was the thief that was robbing me of my God-given joy.

But my eyes-oh were they opened.

It’s been keeping me back from who I was created to be.

and now I see my pride,

and now I see my self-obsession,

and now I see my desperate need to be free.

I didn’t realize I have been held captive by insecurity for so long because I didn’t realize what insecurity truly was. Little did I know it was the source of what has been pulling my heart apart.

It’s time it is long gone from this girl’s heart. This heart that’s ready to be set free to run wild with God-exalting dreams. This heart that’s ready to explode with a love so vibrant and leave all of herself behind in the pursuit of Her God.

& so we’ve broken up.

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It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. -Galatians 5:1

Insecurity tends to be defined as a generalized, vague notion in our minds. We might say insecurity is “not being content with how we were made” or “wishing we looked different.”

But oh it is so much more than that.

I opened Beth Moore’s book, So Long Insecurity, and I’ll never be the same. Let me pause right here and say that if you haven’t read it–please pick it up. So much of what is on my heart to share with you has its roots in her words and reflections ( I owe that woman some serious gratitude).

Every insecure heart pulsates reverberations of one thing:

doubt.

doubt in self & the beautiful person you were created to be.

doubt in God & the unfathomable worth He has placed within you.

Insecurity refers to a profound sense of self-doubt–a deep feeling of uncertainty about our basic worth and our place in the world. Insecurity is associated with chronic self-consciousness, along with a chronic lack of confidence in ourselves and anxiety about our relationships. The insecure man or woman lives in constant fear of rejection and a deep uncertainty about whether his or her own feelings and desires are legitimate. -Joseph Nowinski

The insecure heart places unrealistic expectations on other people to fill what only God was made to fill, and runs on to the next thing if those expectations aren’t met, breaking down friendships and relationships and asking broken people to be its god.

The insecure heart weeps at the very thought of rejection. It is overly sensitive to every little thing someone else says or does. It lives in constant fear that someone will disapprove.

The insecure heart breaks the moment someone else does better. It wants to be a “the” instead of an “a.”

The insecure heart is not content with being average, but wants to soar higher, just to be better than someone else. Everything is a competition. Everything is a fight to be best.

The insecure heart wants to be the highest priority to their friend, boyfriend, family, or boss. It wants constant affirmation from these people that

And yet in all of this mess of an insecure heart–the most insecure person will often appear some level of perfect. Because perfection is what a diseased heart will use to patch the pain of insecurity.

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As I read through the pages of Beth Moore’s book, every word pressed into my heart and echoed,

Madyson: this is you.

This is you because all of this insecurity that is weighing you down is rooted in pride, self-centeredness, and self-obsession.

This is you because insecurity has made you do some stupid things. Insecurity has made you sit quiet and not speak for fear of saying something stupid. Insecurity has made you tell people you’re “quiet” as a cover up-as a lame excuse that disguises the real you. Insecurity has made a fool out of you. It’s stolen your life, and it’s held you back.

This is you, Madyson. Because you’ve placed your security in the hands of other people. When you do that, when you give your security and purpose to another person or people or friends to hold–they drop it every time.

This is you, Madyson. Because you’ve doubted yourself so much it’s pathetic. Truly sad. You’ve doubted so much the beautiful person God has made you to be. You’ve doubted your potential. You’ve kept dreams hidden too far inside.

This is you, Madyson. Because you’ve felt yourself so inferior to everyone else. Because you’ve let yourself be held captive by a lie for way too long.

I’ve spent hours telling God I am done with this. Begging forgiveness. Seeking to understanding what it truly is. But I know that it will not be over in an instant. It takes time to heal a heart that has been bruised.

But when those thoughts of self-doubt, inferiority, and fear arise I am standing up and recognizing them for what they are. I’m calling my enemy out, he’s had enough time to mess with me. I’m claiming the truth and promises of God’s Word over my heart. I’m posting sticky notes in places I see them to remind me of this truth.

It may be a battle to overcome this,

I say bring it on. I have the power of Christ in me.

Slowly, little by little, God’s truth will begin to erase those lies I have believed for so long. As I feed my heart and soul with that truth, I pray it fills my spirit, until all of me knows the perfect fullness of resting secure in who I was made to be. Of reaching my fullest potential in Him.

I was made to do hard and holy things. Insecurity will no longer keep me back from living a full life of joy and peace in my Savior. I will listen to His voice, His opinion of me, and His words alone.

Since the night I decided I’d had enough-and the next morning after that spent with Jesus-I have never known so much freedom in my heart. 

It is a beautiful thing.

Next time insecurity calls- I’m not picking up.

I’ve moved on, I’ve had enough, and #IamSECURE

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p.s. this is just part one of me sharing my journey through insecurity. please follow along as I share more of my heart with you in the next few weeks and months, and ways through which I am seeking to overcome it.  Sisters, in the Lord #weareSECURE.

falling from what we want

It’s these stones of expectations.

Expectations we lay on ourselves. Expectations the world piles on us, and they grow, they accumulate to the height of a great cliff.

We’re scared of falling from the top of that cliff

It’s like this:

The whole world is built up on a mountain, it’s actually a dangerous cliff, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

unnamed-43Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset You can be a comfortable Christian there-it’s excitement.

It’s pleasure & ease.

& so our flesh wants to be there. The top of the cliff is one place where you’re soul can live in the world. Heightened on entertainment and high on yourself. The top of the cliff is home to the lukewarm who want just enough of Jesus to escape hell.

Even though the cliff is high, the souls of those who live there are always trying to build it higher for themselves, trying to outdo the next girl, each working hard on her own ambitions and pride and dreams and plans for her life,

hoping no one misses out or doesn’t see how great she is. Unless she builds herself higher and outdoes the rest, she’s convinced she won’t be seen.

The cliff is built up with layers of self. Things we want. Approval we crave. It’s where we feel safe. It’s built up with our perfect scenarios and our expectations of ourselves. It’s where we want to be, high, lofty, exalted, applauded.

We’re trapped at the top of that cliff, even though we may not know it.

We need a move of grace to come crashing down.

We can’t jump down, those waters at the bottom haunt us. Because if we don’t live up up to the life we’re supposed to, the life the world and our own hearts have led us astray to believe, we’re going to fall from that high cliff into those waters.

There’s something in that water, on the shores of those depths that we can’t quite see. We don’t want to come crashing down. We’re afraid of how that might look to others and how that might interfere with our plans. So we keep building our own selves and dreams and reputations higher. 

Until He interrupts us. Isn’t it true that His interruptions hurt the most, but they always bring us back to our purpose? 

Sometimes it takes the likes of something we may not understand, for God to get us from dancing with the danger of selfish ambition.

Sometimes it takes something we don’t understand for him to bring us from waltzing to our own melody on the top of that cliff of comfort, to wading on the shores of that beautiful river down below, in His presence.

Mining for that thing we couldn’t see from the top-

that is, the gold.

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to bring us down to the place of sweetest fulfillment. Walking on the shores of His love and then wading further out as we learn to trust Him.

And then swimming were we can still touch as we know more of Him, and then one day-in over our heads, fully lost, only him.

When we’re in over our heads in this river we’ll wonder why we ever wanted to be high and exalted in our own strength on the top of that mountain where we thought we were secure, but were really just tinkering with danger. The mountain we thought stood so tall, but in reality was a crumbling cliff we would fall from to our destruction if His grace didn’t carry us down. It was an illusion of comfort, maybe everything we think is secure is actually an ilusioneverything but Him that is.

And that affliction-that tribulation that slammed us into the rocks on the shore-

that fall of grace

-it was a good slam, a grace slam.

One day when our arms have been strengthened from swimming so long in the ocean of His grace we’ll raise them and praise him for smashing our plans against that rock and bringing us to complete and utter fulfillment in the center of His will.

Mining for gold along the coast of pain.

Finding beauty in the moments we may never understand.

Because no day is wasted when we live with Jesus.

Sinking our feet down into that sand and rooting our hearts forever in His promises that are “yes and amen.”

The beauty of being brought low is that He is so much more than we could ever see from the top.

His economy is one of smallness.

Of falling from that cliff, into His arms, into those waters.

& so wherever we are right now in this moment, we’ll stand strong in our struggles because there’s beauty when we fall. We won’t compare our journey to the girl next to us.

and when it feels like we’re cascading down a cliff of failure it’s really because He’s bringing us down. He’ll teach us to mine for gold in the river where we land at the bottom of that cliff.

When the pain and hurt is all spent and the joy comes,

When we’ve tasted that river of grace-

our hearts will explode with a love. A love we will want to be to a hurting world. It’s a love that extends far beyond the reaches of this world.

And a fall of failure from a cliff of expectations can’t contain that eternal, crazy, winsome love. The fall only magnifies it. Until it’s an exploding array of His grace and our lives can’t contain His joy. Embrace the fall from what you want,

you’ll find more of Jesus at the bottom than you could have ever imagined.

risen for relationship

 

she fell in love with Jesus

and everything else soon fell away

every other desire–

except the smile of His face upon hers

except His presence and grace and fullness

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rae

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she fell in love with Jesus-

and man’s approval fell to the side

she didn’t even care anymore what they thought

she wasn’t deterred by rejection

or concerned with meeting their standards.

 

she fell in love with Jesus-

Her Savior was resurrected

risen

He rose for a relationship with her

and she knew this within the depths of her being

this–His resurrection–it gave her life a whole new meaning

this love poured out through His blood captivated her

it stole her heart, and all that she was

it gave her freedom

freedom to be all He had made her to be.

and now there was one resolve in her soul,

to be wholly His

in thought

in word

in deed.mak

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Because that is truly why He rose. for His glory, for our greatest joy, for His deepest and most ardent love to be poured out over us through His agony. His blood brought beauty. His resurrection, relationship.

The truest Lover of our hearts laid down all His glory and magnificence so that He could know us eternally as His beloved.

So that He could rescue us from the clutches of ourselves. From self-obsession and eternal damnation. From the world, from the evil of our own hearts, from death. We are rescued from death forever.

& praise God we can know Him. We can walk with Him each day for all of eternity. We can know His fullness, the beauty of His presence and the joy of His face upon us.

because we have been labeled perfect.

blameless.

enough.

& it’s all because of Jesus.

 

 

the thing about dreams

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she stood at the edge of the water, looking out. looking in front of her, at what was coming. she saw each stair-where it was leading. she knew the next step, and that made her feel secure.

it made her feel comfortable.

she opened her journal to write but all she could do was grasp the pen with an adamantine grip. control’s riveting power was becoming her idol and her heart was beginning to long to know tomorrow instead of longing to know her King.

she was a hopeless romantic with a bucket list full of dreams. she didn’t say much. she had her faults, but she didn’t hide them. her journal was chock full of ideas and dreams and inspiration and beauty. her soul was deep, too deep to be understood by so many who settled for shallow.

and lately all she could think about was tomorrow. today didn’t seem to be enough to keep her soul captivated, or enough to fill her with joy. she saw joy as a “someday”, a state she would reach when what she wanted came to be true.

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but in the midst of the confusion of her heart, the King of heaven took her on a journey. a journey of not-knowing her future, so she could know her God. a journey of learning to see that this moment is enough, and her God is more than enough.

it was hard and it took a long time. day after day of waking up and realizing that she was created to live in the present, not so consumed with her hopes for tomorrow.

and in time she came to learn his love as greater than all her hopes and dreams. the waiting was blessed. because she learned that when she wanted something so bad, she had to surrender. to surrender and know that Jesus had something better. she saw how God works in mysterious ways, and one beautiful thing she learned: her King is always faithful, He will have His way. and in the center of His will she found purest joy.

she realized that joy isn’t someday, it’s today.

she learned that contentment isn’t tomorrow, it’s right now.

she believed He was faithful, faithful to give her joy and dreams too glorious to imagine herself.

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see that’s the thing about our dreams: they’re not truly dreams until their given to Jesus. when they become surrendered, and no longer ours, they become more beautiful than we could ever know.

don’t just dream. bring those dreams to Jesus. and watch them take flight and soar to beautiful heights on the wings of His love.

so today let your heart beat to the beautiful rhythm of his grace. refuse to fit in and be average. refuse to let the world suppress your beauty and define and validate your soul. live for your King Jesus and show His love wherever you go, whoever you meet. get outside yourself, your dreams, your desires, and know this: He’ll fulfill your dreams in a way that might surprise you.

the four questions

our hearts are all searching. we’re all seeking something. whether it be fame, wealth, popularity, or the presence of Jesus Christ and eternal joy in Him. our hearts were so designed that we’re longing for something. this past week I had the opportunity to hear one of the humblest, clearest, men of God preach. my heart is yearning for more to know the glory of the hope of Jesus Christ and so I’ve come to share what made such an impact on me.

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the four questions

the questions that we all ask at some point during our lives. we may not ask them in this order–we may not even realize we’re asking them, but all of us will.

Who am I?
Why am I here?
What’s wrong with the world?
How can what is wrong be made right?

there are two worldviews. there are two ways to answer this question. there is a white, and there is a black. the culture//non-Christian worldview has their answers. and the Christian worldview has its answers.

and so the non-Christian worldview offers these answers::
Who am I? I am the result of random evolutionary processes. I’m an accident.
Why am I here? I am here to consume and enjoy.
What’s wrong? People are either insufficiently educated or insufficiently governed…or insufficiently medicated.
How is what is wrong made right? Violence: anger management class—or you need to be governed or medicated. We need more meds, more education, and stronger, more sufficient government. All of this will lead us to “utopia.” It doesn’t satisfy. You know it-I know it. The culture tells children we are here because of an accident. Educate better, medicate better, govern better. But things continue to get worse. It doesn’t satisfy and it doesn’t ring true. You’re still left searching for an answer.

If we’re all the result of random evolutionary processes the only right thing is to take what you want from those who have it. If we’re here to consume and enjoy—what else is left to do? What happens when you educate a violent person? You get a more sophisticated violent person. Who is gonna govern the governors? The culture’s answers are not ok. The world is not ok. Those who hear it—are not ok.

The Bible gives a different answer to those questions:

Who am I? The world says you are an evolutionary accident—and the Word of God says: I am the crown and glory of the Creation of God. The culture wants the results from our worldview while rejecting what accomplishes it. We are the crown and glory of the creation of God. Every soul has value and purpose and beauty and glorious worth. Because every soul is crafted by the one who breathed the stars into existence. 

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by jim all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–{Colossians 1:15-16a)

Why am I here? I was created to bring glory and honor to God my Creator. We live to the glory of God—and govern the things and ways we enjoy/consume things. The only way to get to conservation is through worship. The culture says we ought to worship the creation—we get there by worshiping the Creator who made us stewards over the creation. There is purpose and joy and hope here and now because of Christ. There is an eternal hope to which we are reaching. Oh, praise Jesus, this is glorious.

“all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” {Colossians 1:16b-19}

What’s wrong with the world? You. “Who once were alienated and hostile in mind and doing evil deeds” (Colossians 1:21). I don’t do what I was created to do. And instead of bringing glory to God I’m hostile to Him. In short, what’s wrong with the world is sin. Our culture doesn’t like this category. We attempt to preach the Gospel without preaching about sin. The culture looks out and sees the problems—“we need to get them into the right environment.” What is wrong? Sin. You can’t look outside of yourself to find the problem. It can’t be educated, governed, or medicated out of you. Your problem is sin. I am at the problem with the world.

How can what is wrong be made right? The Cross. Oh the glory and hope in that ever profound and awful deed. We have no hope unless someone can come from outside of this world and rescue us. God made Him who knew no sin to become sin for us. He is our only hope. Our only hope is that we are reconciled to God by the blood of Christ. Christ was born without sin and lived without sin—His active obedience—He is born perfectly righteous and in his active obedience he achieves perfect righteousness. If I am going to stand before God—alien righteousness has to be imputed to me. This is why all the Gospel matters, and the virgin birth matters. Because in all my wickedness Christ looked upon me and set his love on me. Not because of anything I have done–or ever will do. But because of the indelible riches of his grace.

and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him. {Colossians 1:20-22}

This is our answer.

And it’s the only one that satisfies. There is not a greater answer we could come up with by philosophy. There is not a greater hope. The Word of God is inerrant, infallible, and it is sufficient to answer the questions of those who don’t even believe it.

“You can’t win, you can’t get even, and you can’t get out of the game.” That rings true without the Gospel. Without the Gospel, you have no hope. But God. to be short and true:

The only way you can have your best life now is if you’re going to hell when you die.

As believers, we’re not going to limp into heaven: He’s going to present us spotless, faultless, righteous. One day, we’ll get a bit of a glimpse into what this looks like. He will present you. One day, for those of us who are redeemed, Christ will look upon us—clothed in His righteousness—and He will say “Father, that’s your son.”

You can have utopia You can have your “best life now.” I’ll take glory. And I’ll enter there not by my own works-but by his work. Because there is nothing that this world is offering or proclaiming that comes close to that. Flee from trusting in yourself and flee to Christ. Live the rest of your life with the anxious anticipation that you will be presented before the Father by Jesus Christ–spotless, blameless, wholly His. Made worthy by his call.

love,

madyson

p.s. this post is based off of my notes taken from Pastor Voddie Baucham. be blessed by his ministry HERE