Materialism Manipulated Me

Materialism Manipulated Me

Investing confidence in financial or materialistic things robs you from the freedom Christ died to bring.

Don’t get me wrong, having or desiring really nice things are not always a bad thing. While I say that, it’s imperative you sustain an awareness of it not taking root and becoming a heart issue.

 “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

Keep in check where your driving factors come from:

Does it drive you closer to Jesus, or dig the hole deeper into sin?

Does it drive you to work hard to convince people you’re happy, when reality is you’re nothing but empty?

Does it drive you to be selfish in places you should be selfless?

Does it drive dependence in the world or on the One who created the world?

It’s important to keep tabs on the places you find your deepest drive in selfishness. It’s in those places that God is trying to show you that there is something in you that needs to be humbled and renewed.

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

The scary thing about glorifying our lives with worldly things is you end up preaching the wrong gospel.

You proudly preach, “look at me – then you’ll be happy”. By this people start to believe success, money, travel, and materialism really will satisfy.

Reality is, it’s nothing but a massive lie because we know the truth is this world can never satisfy.

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

Don’t let materialism manipulate you

Instead, we should be more proud to say, “look at what Jesus has done for me, within me, and what He can also do for you – so you can find freedom too”.

I had my own fair share of battles with financial status and security. It became an ugly idol. This idol conformed my identity to the likeliness of the world, and made me my own enemy.

  • I was driven to have my dream car (Explorer) because it looked like a Range Rover.

  • I was driven to go back to school to become a Nurse Practitioner for better hours and higher salary.

  • I was driven to believe going on fun trips would give me the opportunity to escape problems or things I was avoiding.

  • I was driven not to tithe because I was so worried about building a significant financial security blanket, yet I made sure to have money for things I deemed “worthy” – superficially.

What a stab, worthy. Isn’t is sad how easily we find ourselves just so entitled and worthy. Truth is, we deserve absolutely nothing, but our Savior gave us everything.

How is it that I could be so consumed in doing what was “best for me” while I completely neglected praising my savior for how HE blessed me.

He blessed me so I could bless others, not to live for self.

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:10

While sometimes having and doing nice things can be fun or de-stressing, I allowed myself to get carried away to fill the void of needing Jesus.

*Enter conviction*

I started tithing. I sold my dream car. I withdrew from NP school. I moved to the suburbs, and gave up city life.

When my paycheck comes, my first 10% is now immediately tithed before any other financial obligation – no matter how scary it may seem. I can affirm without a doubt God will provide and bless me. Scripture says so.

He knew I didn’t need the fancy car. He knew I wasn’t meant to be a NP, but instead, He wanted me to pursue ministry. He knew I didn’t need a high-rise because He wanted me to have an extra room to better serve HIS people who may have a need.

I gave up several material things that were significantly driving me, and today I feel freer then free.

My prayer is that you too will search your heart, and ask Him to reveal if there’s anything that could use a little “less of me”.

Trust me, God has no problem giving us a dose of humility. God convicts us each differently, but longs to do it lovingly – to give you freedom.

Let’s spend less time making our lives look pretty, and instead make our hearts and how we steward others pretty.

Be financially free and trust God will make you rich by the grace of His promises.

“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.’” Hebrews 13:5

Show Me Your Scars

Show Me Your Scars

We all have scars.

Some, more prominent than others, yet none serve as a lack of significance.

Our scars tell a story.

Where we’ve been. The trauma we’ve lived. The fire we’ve walked through. The pain once rooted deep within.

We’re quick to cover up our scars out of shame, or the potential of dimming the beauty that’s found within. Scars usually aren’t pretty. We don’t want people to see them because we don’t only want to be seen by them. Our initial response is more than likely not to be proud of them. Depending where you’ve been, you may feel they’re best to never be talked about again.

We don’t have to be proud of where we’ve been. More times than not we’d probably wish those circumstances or decisions would’ve never existed.

While you don’t have to be proud of the events, things, or places that created those scars, I do challenge you to be proud of what they’ve made you, and who you are because of them.

Some scars may be superficial while others are deep gashes that took what seems to have been forever to mend.

I want to share a significant portion of John 20 about Jesus and His scars. When Jesus was resurrected He came back to see his disciples, and they knew for certain it was Him because of His scars.

“…He showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord…Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’ A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!'” John 20:20, 24-28

When I came across this story, I personally was inspired to write about it from a different perspective of the scars we bear in our own lives.

Jesus wasn’t ashamed by His scars. He knew His people would know it was HIM by witnessing the scars He showed them!

My friends, why don’t we do the same!

Why don’t we instead take a bold stance and tell the world that our scars are just fruitful testaments that God faithfully fulfills His promises!

Jesus’ scars from the cross didn’t just define Him by where He’s been. It wasn’t left at crucifixion – It was boldly glorified by His RESURRECTION! The story of the gospel lives and breathes because it didn’t stop at the cross. He was meant to do what God ultimately destined Him to – to RISE, LIVE, and BREATHE so He could powerfully live on in each and every one of you.

Your scars don’t define you by where you’ve been. No, instead, they give you the opportunity to share the gospel by faithfully proclaiming of what Jesus has done WITHIN!

Your scars may have really hurt, and still may. But friends, it cannot even begin to compete with the testament of what Jesus Christ has done in you, and the legacy you now leave behind you.

So, show me your scars.

Share your story.

Proudly be bold to bring God all the glory.

 

“You restored me to health and let me live. Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.” Isaiah 38:16-17

Raw + Real

Raw + Real

Being a Christian isn’t about pretty, put-together, prayers.

It’s raw. It’s real.

Sometimes, if not most times, filled with the honest gut-wrenching tears.

We live in this false pretense that it gets easier when you decide to become a believer.

It’s easy to pull scripture + pour out truth when you’re not the one desperately grasping for an ounce of a breakthrough.

It’s easy to say, “trust God” when you’re not the one hanging by the thread of only having “just God”.

It’s easy to say, “I’m doing okay” to fight off the pride in humbly saying, “I honestly don’t know how to make it through another day”.

But amidst the brutal, honest, tears, you end up being met by the God who knows exactly how to calm your fears.

“Cast your cares on The Lord and he will sustain you; he will not let the righteous fall” Psalm 55:22

    The God who hears you.
    The God who sees you.
    The God who believes in you.

Maybe right now you’re not okay.

Maybe right now you need to hear it’s okay if you’re really not okay.

But I will FIGHT to tell you, God with his goodness, mercy, and faithful heart never intends for you to stay that way.

There will be a day your tears of mourning radically become transformed into tears of rejoicing and those that are adorning.

Some days + nights you may find yourself clenching your Bible, and earnestly seeking a place to rest your head.

My beautiful friend, it’s completely okay because it’s in the midst of the raw, real, dependence, you become a witness to experiencing His fulfillment of promises.

“I have heard your prayers and seen your tears. I WILL heal you.” 2 Kings 20:5

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Many days + nights this was me.

In full transparency, it still can be me.

Your growth in The Lord shouldn’t make you more confident in self, but drive deeper the roots in dependence on God himself.

I’m okay with this every once in a while being me, but Lord how I PRAISE YOU and THANK YOU for knowing you’ve set this captive 100% free.

My prayer for you too, my friend, is to rejoice in the gift of freedom – freely gifted upon you, to heal you.

Rock Bottom. The Brunt of Brokenness.

Rock Bottom. The Brunt of Brokenness.

When you hear the phrase “hit rock bottom” it’s fair to assume the context is one of negative connotation.

Darkness. The lowest point. Excruciatingly painful. The end.

In dealing with family, friends, or relationships where a loved one has strayed into a prodigal, it’s incredibly common you hear,

“they’ll have to hit rock bottom at some point”

But why?

It’s a hopeful cry of desperation that they’ll come back around. Come back around as the old self they once were, or a completely new self – exceedingly better than before.

Maybe at one point you were, or currently are, that prodigal.

Is it not in our moments of desperation, where we literally have no deeper to fall, that we finally look up and cry out to Jesus that we need him, “now more than ever”? When you’re in a moment, or season, of hitting rock bottom it’s so easy to feel defeated.

There’s no hope.
No reason to carry on.
You’ve finally messed up too much this time.
There’s no way you can possibly redeem yourself.
You’re unforgivable.
You’re not worthy.
You’re completely alone.

What I find so fascinating about the term “rock bottom” is specifically the word, rock .

Think about it – who is our ultimate rock? Jesus.

It’s not surprising then when we hear testimonies of people who finally came to the end of themselves at rock bottom. In turn, they became completely transformed by Jesus.

You have to believe, understand, and receive this truth: there is nothing you could do to destroy God’s plan for you. Jesus wants nothing more than to open his arms up to you, and welcome you home with merciful unending love and grace.

“…but while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘ father, I have sinned against heaven and against you, I am no longer worthy to be your son’. But the father said to his servants, ‘quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet…for this son of mine was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.”  – Luke 14: 20-24

Jesus eagerly anticipates the day you choose to look up in hope + truth instead of remain face down in the lie that your life is nothing but destitute.

Rock bottom is finally putting an end to wrestling God, and creating a beginning of surrendering to God. What appears to be the end, in return, is an opportunity of a brand new beginning.

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Are you at rock bottom, friend?

I’ll say this.

I find freedom in rock bottom. While you may be in the brunt of your brokenness, you can fully trust that Jesus is going to fight to help you overcome + conquer this.

Your brokenness, it doesn’t define you; it’s an opportunity to powerfully refine you.

To heal you. To free you. To redeem you.

“…I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you.” – 2 Kings 20:5

The lies the enemy has tried so hard to use to entangle you, have already been freely broken + defeated by the mighty Savior who died for you.

I don’t know about you, but there’s no other solid ground I’d rather completely fall to my knees to – that of Jesus.

My rock, my fortress, my defense.
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” – Psalm 18:2

It’s on that rock, whether on your knees or on your face…

You will rise. You will stand. It’s only the beginning, not even near the end.

You have a story God will use 100% for HIS glory. Choose to humbly submit. I promise you’ll be blessed by your testament.

“…and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” – Matthew 16:18