Matthew 18:1-4- At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Hey :) I heard a song this week that gave me an idea that pretty much relates to everyone, and it's definitely helped me as well. It's called "I Wanna Go Back" by David Dunn. The whole song is about how easy it is to believe that Jesus loves you, and that faith can move mountains when you're younger, but when you're older, life gets tougher and it's much harder to believe so easily. In it, he says, "I wanna go back to 'Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so'" (In case you didn't know, that's a song sung in Sunday school for little kids). The whole song is honestly so relatable, because I want to go back too. Back then, you could sing those songs without a worry in the world, firmly believing every word you sang. But as you get older, you start to realize how hard life can be, and you ultimately get separated from God, and it's truly hard to keep believing everything you were taught as a little kid.
Going back would be nice was my immediate thought after hearing this song, but then I dug a little deeper and these verses explain this whole situation really well. In these verses, Jesus' disciples asked him who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus responded by putting a child in the midst of them, saying that they must become like children to even enter the kingdom of heaven. That's slightly confusing because like, that's impossible. But what Jesus meant by that was that the mindset of a child should always be our mindset, even as we get older.
The first thing that you will notice about a child is that they believe everything they hear, without argument or doubt. Christianity takes a lot of faith. You have to trust Him with everything you have to really have the kind of faith He is looking for. As a child that was so easy, but Jesus is right there, ready for us to continue that faith when we get older, and when life becomes hard. Everything you heard as a little kid is still true today, even if it's harder to believe, and I'm pretty sure that's where a lot of people get stuck. Just because you choose to stop believing when you're older doesn't mean it stopped being true. There was a time when I was so doubtful, everything I was taught as a child was so hard to go back to. It took awhile for me to realize that Jesus wasn't asking me to have all the answers, He was asking me to have childlike faith, to believe without knowing the exact answer, because honestly He's the only one who fully understands our faith.
We don't have to be children to have childlike faith, and I feel like no one hears that enough. Having all of the answers is not part of Christianity, it's about having faith and really trusting that Jesus has all of our answers. It's also about realizing that having doubts is okay, He hears them and sticks with you closer than a brother. All we need is "faith even as small as a mustard seed" (Matthew 17:20). I want to remind you and myself, that you're faith doesn't have to go away just because it's harder to believe. We can go back to how it was when we were children, because Jesus makes it that easy. It's hard to do, but even when you're older, it isn't impossible to continue believing big, because our God is so big.
- Sophia Light
1 John 4:7-8- Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 Peter 4:8- Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
To be honest, this was the most overwhelming blog I've ever written, not because I didn't want to, or because I didn't have the time, but because there are more verses in the Bible about God's love for us than any other verse, and I want to be able to explain His love for us in a way that makes sense and glorifies Him. This actually is this second time I've written this post. The entire thing was deleted the first time and it was really upsetting, but God is bigger than that, and His love is so vast, I don't understand it, no one does. I can only pray that God writes for me, because I don't have the understanding to be able to explain it like He can.
This message has always been important to me because my Papa has taught me about it all my life. He has never understood why in the English language there is only one way to say love, whereas in Ancient Greek, there are actually six. Eros, which means passion, or desirous love. Philia, which means deep friendship. Ludus, which means playful love, like young love. Pragma, which means longstanding love, like long married couples, and the last one is called Agape, which is the highest form of love, the most radical and unconditional love that covers everyone, and it is only used to describe God's love for us. I love how God has His own word to describe how He feels towards us, yet He's the only one who fully understands it.
The first thing that hits me about these verses and words is the weight of how unconditional this love is. "Unconditional love" is a hard concept to grasp because the people in our lives can't love like God does. At school, or work, we spend so much time changing, hiding all of our flaws, just to "fit in" a crowd that ultimately changes every aspect of who we are. In relationships, we leave so many things unsaid, leaving us confused, and questioning if we are even loved anymore. What if one day we woke up with the mindset that the only one we need acceptance from is God? What would finally be accomplished or said? What in our lives would be different? What could happen if our whole perspective of life went from trying to impress everyone else, to realizing that we are already so accepted and adored by God? He sees our rough patches, our doubts (because yeah, there are a lot of those), and our unbelief, yet nothing we could ever do could change how He sees us. There's no hiding who we are from God, and I find it astounding that we still can't get people to like us even if they don't see our flaws, yet God sees them ALL and loves us unconditionally.
Not many things in our lives last forever. I know that we all have friendships or relationships we pray will last, but we can never be completely sure. Earthly things separate people, but nothing can separate us from God's love. In the beginning, sin separated us from God, but He sent Jesus to die for our sins, connecting us back to Him. If that's not selfless, agape love then I'm not sure what is. Sometimes, I forget how long "everlasting" really is. It's forever, and that really doesn't give it justice either.
A God that doesn't need to be impressed, but unconditionally loves us forever, is a God I want to serve. Not only does He love, but He IS love, and if we are to live like Christ, then we need to love also. Imagine the difference our schools, states, and nations would have if Christ's love were the main goal. I, personally, can't even comprehend it all. It's radical, scandalous, and perfect. You are agape loved.
John 14:27- Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Hey :) I just got back from an extended weekend trip to Orlando with my Nana, Papa, and best friend. I'm extremely sleep deprived but honestly this is more important to me than sleep right now, lol.
A lot of really cool things happened while we were gone, and I have a lot of stories (for another time), but there's one in particular that stood out. It's not so much of a fun story, but more of a praise report that my best friend and I were kept safe.
It was our last night there and we were wanting to go down to the lazy river (which is actually more of a long, well-lit pool with a current and a bunch of families with rafts). Nana was very cautious about it but she let us go and we stayed in touch with her most of the time. The river was nice, and we started to head back to our room in the evening. As we walked from the pool to the lobby, a man was behind us, but I seriously didn't think anything of it since a lot of people had been heading inside. We walked over to the elevators and he followed us and I started to feel slightly restless in my spirit. He didn't even hit an elevator button to go up or down, he just stood there waiting for us to do it while very clearly staring at us and making me really uncomfortable. Before getting on the elevator, I prayed and felt very strongly that we needed to walk away. So I whispered to my friend to follow me and we made our way to the tables across the lobby and sure enough he looked panicked, stared me down, and then pretty much disappeared outside, like he had been caught in his act or something. He never even went in the elevator, meaning he was not really waiting there strictly for an elevator in the first place. Later, my friend told me that she saw some sort of weapon in his pocket. How thankful I am that I was in tune to God and was listening closely to what I felt I needed to do. He is a protector, I cannot express that enough.
I think the thing that stuck out most to me during that situation was the complete peace I had. I'll be the first to admit that I am literally the easiest person to scare in the world, but this time I was totally calm, ready to hear God's voice and follow His direction to keep us safe. I found this verse, and it describes this feeling perfectly. "Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." I give Him complete credit for keeping me at peace last night. If He hadn't been right with me, the situation could have taken a much darker turn, but God is bigger than that, and He's definitely bigger than the scary situations you are going through. Always be aware that His peace is up for grabs at ANY time, not just when you feel alone, but any time, any place.
In this verse it says that His peace is not the same peace that the world provides. The definition of peace that the world gives us is "free from conflict", but the peace that Jesus gives us is the presence of God. It's so reassuring to know that we may have conflicts in our lives but God's presence is still there, and His peace reigns over our situations. It's clear that last night we were not free from conflict, it was a genuinely scary circumstance, yet we still had peace, and that's only because we were relying on His definition of peace instead of the world's.
Jesus is so faithful. Nana asked me what I would have done if something had happened, and I really don't know. But I do know that God would still be present there. He doesn't leave, and He wouldn't have left us stranded there, He is much too big for that, in my life and in yours. He hasn't left you yet, and He won't in the future. Your situation may be scary, but you never have to be afraid that He's left you.
All in all, it was an amazing trip, and I'm so, so thankful.
- Sophia Light
Psalm 23:4- Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me.
Hey :) I'm so thankful for the continual inspiration to write these. I listened to a song called "Hills and Valleys" by Tauren Wells, and the entire topic jumped out at me, so here we are :)
This really sounds like an intense verse, but it makes a powerful point regarding our lives. In the desert of Judah, there were many shadows. Enough to not allow the traveler to see what's ahead of them, including wild animals, or bandits, and it was often referred to as the Valley of the Shadow of Death. (That's just some background information so it will all make sense.)
If we take this literally, none of us are really walking down that valley, but valley also refers to the low points in our lives. A "valley" could be a struggle with unbelief, a family situation, a loss in your family, or even something simple like stressing out over a test. I know for myself, fear isn't an easy thing to control. Family circumstances, worry, and stress can take over instantly without any help from us. Sometimes I forget that fear is not of God, He is a protector and a provider, and it takes faith to do as He says. I love how we know that David (the one who wrote the Psalms) was totally fearful his entire life, yet he writes "I will fear no evil" because even if he is afraid, He knows that God is with him always, and that there's no reason to fear. Through whatever circumstance you are going through, I want to remind you that this is just a valley, and God sees you, has not left you, and is right there ready to pick you up and set you upon His shoulders.
There's another side to this as well. When we are not in a low valley, where are we? God is the Lord of the Hills and Valleys. Hills refer to the high points in our lives. Maybe you just got a job promotion, got a new sibling, or took a relaxing vacation. The same applies to the hills as it did to the valleys, just because you are having an easier time than before does not mean that God has left you. He is still right beside you, rejoicing with you through your happiness and making plans to prosper you further. When you look for a friend, do you look for someone who is only there for you during the happy times, but abandons you when you're upset? Of course not, and the same applies with God. There is a song called "Oh Lord" by NF, and in it he says, "You see the same God that you're saying might not even exist becomes real to us, but only when we're dying in bed. When you're healthy it's like we don't really care for Him then. Leave me alone God, I'll call you when I need you again." We can't forget about God just because we don't need anything from Him at the moment. We can't call His name only when we want something from Him. He is forever. He made you, loves you, and wants to be with you. Just like He never leaves us in the valleys, we can't abandon Him in the hills. He is God of the hills AND the valleys, and He rejoices when we are with Him through it all.
So, through your valleys, be aware that God is walking with you. He sees you there, you don't have to be afraid. In your hills, don't forget about Him, I promise you still need Him. I know I do. He's guiding us, guarding us, and protecting us :)
- Sophia Light
2 Corinthians 7:9 - As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss though us.
Writing these blogs is really cool for me, I see God move in them, and it's also an encouragement to me. Just today I was asking my closest friend what she thinks I should write about next and she said repentance, but later I really wanted to write about grief based on some of the things my family is going through, so as I was looking for verses surrounding grief, repentance was surprisingly in the verse I wanted to use. I'm amazed by how God works.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul is trying to explain to Corinth that just because Paul went through suffering, God can still use Him. Corinth was full of rebellion and rejecting Christ's name, questioning Paul's motives based on His past, which honestly is something everyone does today as well. Paul literally killed Christians before God got ahold of Him, and he went on to write 2/3 of the New Testament. Just because you have a bad past, does not mean God can't change your entire future, and I think a lot of people tend to forget that. His mercy is abundant and there is nothing so bad that His grace can't overcome it.
In this verse specifically, Corinth had finally just repented. Repentance by definition means sincere regret or remorse, or a complete change of heart. They had grieved for a long time, and Paul was not happy because of their grief, but was rejoicing that their grief brought them closer to God. I've witnessed similar circumstances personally. My uncle, who was a huge part of my life, passed away in February 2016. It was, and still is, a heartbreak to my family and I, but God was glorified through it. At his funeral about 200 people showed up. The Gospel was shared, and my Nana got many phone calls afterwards and I believe that many, if not all, hearts were changed that day. I saw Jesus move in that place, even through the tears.
I also have to remind you that God does not orchestrate the tragedies, He cries right along with us and is seriously heartbroken when we are, but that does not mean that through hard circumstances He can't be glorified. How victorious is it that the Devil tries to kill, steal, and destroy all we have, yet Christ is completely glorified through everything Satan tries to do! God will always be stronger. He gives you new grace, strength, and mercy everyday so that you can make it through your situation. He hasn't, and never will, leave you stranded.
So, that verse covered a lot in one sentence. Repentance is the way to Christ, He wants to live through you. Grief is only for a moment (Psalm 30:5- ...weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.), and the chains that Satan tries to put on our lives are shaken from us because of God's power, grace, and mercy. I pray that you, and I as well, can continue to see Christ through everything, because I can promise you that there's a purpose. Haha, a light in the darkness. I still can't get over how that theme relates to everything. He is in everything. :)
- Sophia Light
John 1:1-2 says "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God."
Since the 4th of July just passed, I was thinking about the beginning of our country and where it all started. What was the basis of our country in the beginning? And how did we stray so far? I went to the book of John where he talks about the beginning, and he says that the "Word" was with God. "Word" was meant to represent Jesus. Even though Jesus wasn't born until thousands of years later in the Gospels, He was always with God, from creation and so on. He will always be our beginning.
Not only is God the beginning of our whole world, He was also the sole reason that America even started. I watched a movie called Monumental, and it talked about how the pilgrim's real reason for coming to America was not only because of a harsh king, but because they wanted to be able to worship Jesus on their own terms, read and study the Bible on their own (which wasn't a privilege they had), and to build their own nation on His Word with His morals and values. There's a monument called "National Monument to the Forefathers" in Plymouth, Massachusetts that's actually one of the biggest monuments in the nation. The pilgrims built it to remind our country of it's original foundation. The biggest statue on it literally says "Faith", representing the biggest part of the beginning of our nation. Around it there are words like law, mercy, justice, education, etc, but "Faith" was meant to be the most noticeable and important part. Is it a shock that modern governments built a community around it to hide it? Faith isn't anymore, but really should be, the basis of our country. That's at least how it was supposed to be.
Moving on to how we can apply this to our lives, Jesus should be the beginning of everything we do. He, after all, is the reason we are alive. When tough decisions have to be made, we need to run to Jesus to make the best absolute choices in our lives. When something tragic happens, we need to run to Jesus to give us strength, mercy, hope, and love. When our days are bright, we still need to run to Jesus because He should be the start of everything we say, think, and do. It's not a shock to me that Jesus was the reason our country exists. He was, is, and always will be our beginning, and He needs to still be in our lives as well. He is sovereign, and He loves us incredibly.
I hope everyone had a happy Independence Day!
- Sophia Light
Galatians 6:10- So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Hey! I was thinking for my first post I should pick a topic that is relevant to why I'm even doing this, and the word opportunity was a perfect fit.
In the entire chapter of Galatians 6, Paul is telling us what a life in Christ should look like, including gentleness, bearing each others burdens, and staying humble. He goes on to say that we should not waste our time on Earth and we should take the opportunities presented before us to do good. In the description of this verse, it says that our main focus should be to serve others.
The first thing that I, personally, got out of this verse is that God opens and closes doors, which sounds like a totally cliche comment, but in John 10:7, Jesus says, "...I am the door of the sheep," which means that He literally is the door that opens and closes on certain opportunities. I know that in my life, there have been a lot of things I wish I could have done differently and said differently, but the door closed on those opportunities, only to lead me to new ones that God specifically planned for my life, and that's the same with everyone. God ordains certain instances that will far surpass any "great" plan you had in mind, and will turn out to be so much better than the first opportunity you thought was perfect.
The second point that I pulled from this was that God has given us abilities that are a perfect opportunity in themselves. The reality is that our specific talents are to be used to glorify God, hence why God granted them to us in the first place. This verse specifically says to use opportunities to do good, to share Christ, and the reason that this is so relevant as my first post is because writing has always been my passion, and I'm able to work on my skill as well as share Christ with it.
The last thing I wanted to point out was this- while we have the opportunity, use it. A person who has a passion to play violin doesn't wait ten years to pick one up, neither does a singer never touch a microphone. We have the opportunity to share Christ, and to do "good", and serve others right now. So, that's my opening message, and my whole goal. I want to share Christ while I have the opportunity to do so, and while the door is totally open to people who are looking for Him.
That was my first shot at trying this blog thing out, haha. I pray it brings hope :)