It’s true. From the outside of the famed story of Noah’s Ark, it’s easy to assume I’d be faithful enough to believe Noah and join his family in safety. But one day, I paused and reflected upon my skeptical nature.
I’m a stubborn person. I wouldn’t classify myself as a “Thinker” or one who needs to have every fact and statistic to understand something, but I’m bull-headed in the sense that it’s difficult to change my mind.
If I were living in Noah’s day, as the person I know myself to be, here’s how I think it would go.
I would believe that The Designer existed. Looking around the world, I would imagine that only someone great could create such beauty and life. I would also revere my ancestors, Adam and Eve, whom I was told gave birth to everyone around me. I would believe that the earth is vast and unexplainable.
And as for my purpose, I would believe that I was made to simply enjoy where I was placed. Everyone I knew set out to enjoy themselves, why shouldn’t I? I’d work for my food and relax with my friends. Who cared about what I did so long as I enjoyed myself?
Until one day, I’d hear from my friends about Noah. Noah was one of the oldest patriarchs of the land. He kept to himself and his family. He claimed to walk with The Designer. No one believed him because no one else had walked with The Designer.
When Noah wasn’t shouting doom and gloom at the people, he was building what he called an Ark. Out of curiosity, I would probably check it out. An impressive feat of engineering, I would think.
Perhaps when Noah was taking a break, wiping the sweat off his brow or getting a drink, I would strike up a conversation with him.
“Why are you spending these years building this? What do you intend to do once it’s finished?” I would ask.
“It’s for those Elohim intends to save,” he’d reply. Elohim, The Designer.
“Save from what?”
“From the water that will fall from the sky and kill every living thing.”
“Water doesn’t fall from the sky,” I’d argue. “How do you know it will come from the sky?”
“Elohim says so.”
No matter what I’d ask, Noah’s answer would be the same. Because Elohim said so. How could I deny it if The Designer says so? But I would deny it. I’d never seen water from the sky. I’d never heard The Designer’s voice. If everything were to be destroyed by this water, shouldn’t The Designer tell more people?
So, I’d watch as the Ark continued to form. Years would go by. Still no sky water. And though all his talk about the death of all living things would sound depressing, I would be fascinated by his words and how he acted different from everyone I knew. So, I would go back and talk to him.
Before I would leave for the day, Noah would ask me, “Will you join me on my Ark? If you believe, you can be saved too.”
But I would laugh and humor him saying, “We’ll see, Noah.”
Even when I would notice the throng of animals heading toward his Ark, I would manage to reason with it. Noah was storing up food, of course it would attract animals. And I would laugh with my friends as they joked about taking care of those loud, stinky creatures.
Armed with questions and rebuttals, I’d visit Noah and his family. His wife would tell me about the new animals coming in and his son’s wives would talk to me while the men were working.
Noah would come and say to me, “The Ark is almost finished. Will you join me and my family?”
Stirred by his kindness, I would hesitate. But then I would sigh and shake my head.
“It just sounds too far out for The Designer to destroy what He created. And with water from the sky no less! It’s not logical, and you have no guarantee that it’s going to happen. I don’t want to say you’ve wasted your time, but I would just need to see it for myself.”
Noah would lower his head in disappointment, which would make me feel guilty, and he would walk away.
I’ll apologize tomorrow, I would think. But in returning the next day, I would find no one on Noah’s property. And the massive door of the Ark would be closed. I would hear the animals making their usual noises inside. I’d call to Noah from the ground, but no one would answer from the massive structure.
For seven days I’d return to see if Noah and his family had given up and come out of the Ark, but they hadn’t. This was the craziest they ever looked, and my friends made even more fun of them. But I wanted to reason with them. I wanted to talk with Noah. I wanted to make him understand how foolish they looked. They were even making The Designer look foolish.
And the day everything would change was the day I would approach the closed Ark and step in a puddle. My heart rate increasing, I would look around to see water trickling up from the ground. My feet would squish in the mud around me. As I would get away from the water, I would feel that first drop. Like a cool pin prick on my shoulder. I’d touch the damp spot on my shirt and look up.
As more drops hit my face, I’d run up to the Ark and scream, “I’ve seen now!” hoping someone would hear me and take pity on me. But Noah had already given me the chance. Chance after chance. Just like I thought he’d wasted his days, I would realize in an instant that I’d wasted mine.
And as the water would creep up my ankles, I’d cry, knowing my comfort and enjoyment was about to come to an end.
It’s good to question the things we believe in, but there comes a time when our stubbornness and our desire to understand everything needs to take a back seat.
In the end, the Bible says it will be like the days of Noah. People have and will continue to stake eternity on needing proof it exists. But it only takes one moment of faith to change everything.
I truly believe that if I were around in Noah’s day, I would have drowned, because of how I think, because I’m slow to accept things unless you give me a good case. I’m hoping that realizing this will help me in my own walk towards truth—towards The Designer.
"...because just as Jonah was in the stomach of the sea creature for three days and three nights,[b] so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights." -Matthew 12:40
Today, I started thinking of that first day. And the second day. And the third day. The disciples (excluding John and Mary M.) had fled; they weren’t there for the crucifixion. Maybe they watched the trial from afar. Maybe they heard the chants “Crucify Him!” in the distance.
No matter where they were, I’m sure they felt the ground shake when the earth split. Did they think it was a coincidence?
But when it was all said and done “finished,” I wonder what it was like? When the disciples found their way back to each other for the first time, did they collapse into each other’s arms and cry over the massive hole in their hearts?
Were they huddled together in silent dismay? Did they break out into arguments over what the Pharisees did and why Jesus let it happen? No doubt, they must have been searching through the fog of grief trying to grasp all that He’d said to them beforehand.
Yes, He had told them what would happen, but the Bible says they couldn’t comprehend it. Perhaps, they never heard it until He allowed them to remember at the proper time?
Did they question all that they’d experienced with Him? The man who called Lazarus out of the tomb was now in a tomb Himself. Was He not as powerful as they thought? Had everything they’d seen been a hoax?
I can imagine them tossing in their sleep, grasping at their final moments with Him. Maybe they couldn’t shake the thoughts about the pain He endured and guilt knowing they could have been with Him but weren’t. After all He’d done for them.
Maybe they woke up the second and third day and looked for Him, but then remembered the terrible ache of knowing He wasn’t there.
In those three days, who took the lead? Who fell silent? Who was the comforter? Who grew depressed and angry? Who was starting to make a plan?
And did one of them, even in the back of his mind, consider the possibility of what was to come that joyful morning?
Opening credits of The Chosen, the first multi-season show about the life of Jesus, created and directed by Dallas Jenkins
For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed a few posts and videos having to do with a show called The Chosen. Now some of you may be wondering what The Chosen is and why I am so excited and passionate about it. If you have a few minutes and don’t mind a little reading, I’ll tell you.
Hi Father, I know we’ve talked about this extensively, but I just wanted to bring it up again because, well, it never leaves my mind.
Yes, my love. I know.
I know you know how I feel. I know you feel my ache. Sometimes, it’s just dull, but sometimes it feels like it does right now, like an ocean swell that never crests and laps onto shore.
What else, my daughter?
I long to just let myself burst and deflate. Is that too much to ask?
It will not satisfy.
I know You’re the only One who satisfies. My flame glows for You alone, and I love it.
But I’m still a puzzle that’s incomplete.
You don’t trust that I have all the pieces in due time?
Of course, I do, but the puzzle is collecting dust. The picture’s a blur. It’s not like I can pretend it’s all together.
What will you have Me do?
I’ve been looking around.
How about this one, who says I’m a jewel destined to be treasured?
He has found his jewel already.
This one says he isn’t looking for something serious, perhaps just for a time?
Time that will be spent in pain more than happiness.
I saw this one and he looks wonderful and we have so much in common and I think it could be so great.
You see what’s possible, I see what is. And it would not be good enough for you.
Okay then, I’ll just have to wait.
But I’ve waited so long! I’ve done everything you’ve asked. You’ve watched me wade through the options. You’ve seen me get so attached to nothing. You’ve been with me through the most pain and sat with me at my loneliest. How much more do I need to endure?
If I had let you go with any of the options that crossed your path, you would be drowning in mistakes and sorrow. It may feel like suffering now, but you’ve yet to see the suffering I’ve kept from your heart.
Then how will I know? I can’t trust myself to make these decisions.
You can trust Me.
I know. But I have so many fears and doubts. Maybe I’m better off going without. Maybe I need to learn to be content in this suffering.
I know what is better for you.
Yes, You do. What would I do without You?
I hope you never have to find out.
Me too. Thank you, Father.
You’re welcome, my love.
See you tomorrow?
Tomorrow and forever.
Ladies, have you ever had a conversation like this with God? More like, how many times did you have this conversation? For those of you who are battling that overwhelming swell of loneliness, I understand.
I don’t like to admit to it much, but I acknowledge that that is a human feeling. Loneliness isn’t a sin, but it certainly can lead to it. Have this conversation with The Father instead.
However, despite these feelings, I’ve never had as much joy and contentment in my life as I do now. I look back at my crushes and my almost relationships and I say, “thank you God for knowing better because WHAT WAS I THINKING?!”
I don’t want less than God’s best and that’s not just a saying on a T-shirt. The relationship I want and the relationship I need absolutely cannot be any less than what God wants for me because I don’t see the point.
I’ve had people tell me my standards are too high or I’m not looking enough. They have good intentions, but if you hear that too, don’t listen to them. Let God prepare you and let God prepare him for the right time.
Please do yourself a favor and focus on Jesus, who is always there, who doesn’t fail you, who knows what you need when you don’t know it yourself. Spend those unbearable times with your eyes fixed on His blessings, His provision, and His unique companionship.
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
Colossians 1:9-12 (NIV)
Once there was a Fellow with his Friend. One day, the Fellow said to his Friend, “Hike up this mountain with me, for I’ve been told we will find the purpose of life. Wouldn’t that be the most beautiful sight to see?”
But his Friend shrugged with a frown on his face. “I am not good at climbing mountains. I’m scared of heights and many dangers lie in the wilderness,” he said.
But the Fellow pressed his Friend. “I will journey with you and protect you. Is finding the purpose of life not worth the risk?” And with the Fellow’s encouragement, his Friend finally relented.
So, the Fellow and his Friend journeyed up the mountain and the Fellow did just as he said. He helped his Friend up the steep rocks and kept a lookout for dangerous wild animals. As they kept on, his Friend grew more comfortable with his surroundings and he was glad he came.
After much traveling, the two came to an overpass. Across from the overpass, another mountainside towered over them. It was much grander than the one on which they stood. Hoping this wasn’t the end of their journey, they looked for a way to cross. It didn’t take them long to find but a single rope bridge hanging between each mountainside. With glee, the Fellow started for the bridge, but his Friend became hesitant once again.
“Haven’t I told you I’m afraid of heights? Surely more treacherous dangers lie over on that mountain.”
The Fellow replied, “Is finding the purpose of life not worth the risk?” But his Friend became obstinate and stood his ground on the side of the mountain where he had grown secure.
“I do not think a bridge like that would be safe enough to cross. It looks as if it has been here since the beginning of time!”
“Surely, it is trustworthy,” the Fellow pleaded. “Come, I will cross first, and you will see that the bridge is secure.” The Fellow grabbed hold of the rope rails and gingerly made his way across the swinging bridge. When he successfully stepped on solid ground, he turned back to his Friend.
“See? I speak the truth!” But his Friend shook his head.
“You may have made it to the other side unharmed, but how do I know that it will not break underneath my weight and cause me to plummet to my death? No, I cannot go any further. I am safe on this side of the mountain and I will stay here.”
The Fellow’s face fell. “As you wish,” he said. “but I will not stay with you. I will follow the path, so that I can find the purpose of life.” With that, the Fellow turned away and disappeared in the woods.
His Friend, however, set up camp on his side and waited for the Fellow to return. But the longer he waited, the more impatient he grew. What if something terrible had happened to the Fellow? He approached the bridge which swayed gently, but fear swelled up in him when he saw the long way down. In fright, he ran from the bridge.
Perhaps, the Fellow was just taking his time. His Friend began to wander around the mountain as he waited for the Fellow. Suddenly, the earth rumbled and began to shake beneath him. The ground split and rocks crumbled, falling down around him. He charged back toward the bridge, hoping he could still flee to the other side before the whole mountain collapsed. If he ran fast enough, he would not fear the bridge anymore.
But as he cleared the shaking trees and the roaring earth, he gasped, finding that the bridge was no longer there. It had detached from his side of the mountain and he found no other way of escape.
The mountain crumbled to dust, and the Friend’s last thoughts were of his Fellow, who had safely crossed over the bridge.
“Be the woman who fixes another Queen’s crown without telling the world it was crooked.” -unknown
In this ‘follow me, subscribe to me, look at me’ (guilty!) world, it’s easy to forget to focus on the people you’re reaching out to. But what if we take a moment to stop looking at ourselves and making sure our crown is standing tall, and instead, take a look at the crowns God has given to others.
The above quote is packed with truths about how we should treat people. Everyone has a crown of some sort. Sometimes, life happens, and emotional things cause the crown to fall or become crooked. By you acknowledging that the other has a crown, you are acknowledging that they are precious in the eyes of God, now in the eyes of you, and help them to walk in that. You take them aside and do what you can to make sure that crown is sitting straight and gleaming like the starts in the sky. How do we do this? Let me break it down for you for the moment you need to straighten someone else’s crown.
1. Examine yourself
Before any of the following can be done, you need to peek behind the curtain of your heart. Why do you want to reach out to this person? Is it to help? Is it to gossip? Is it so you can feel good about yourself? You also need to check on your own sins. You’re not better than the person you’re helping and sometimes you need to help yourself before you help someone else. Run yourself through a list before you send that first message.
When you let someone know you’ve been thinking about them (in a not creepy way), you’ve just added value. You’ve let them know that for a second, someone in the world took a moment to acknowledge you. Not only is that comforting, it also helps you stay connected. Who is going to listen to anything you say if you haven’t tried to contact this person since high school?
In order to feel valued, one must be given something of value. Something they can use in their life. People like free stuff. Now, I’m not talking about a bunch of gifts. I’m talking about priceless stuff. Being the shoulder to cry on, the sound board to bounce off of, the ears to simply listen. Those actions can sometimes be more encouraging than trying to fix a problem with advice.
“We need to build each other up in Christ and in order to do that, we need to stop focusing on the surface while ignoring the deep stuff.”
Branch out from your typical Christian responses (not that they’re bad) and look for more original ways to bring the love and hope of Jesus. If you read my last post, you’ll understand why. Jesus brings life. If you’re caring for a Christian, don’t be ashamed to ask them how their relationship with God is going. These things aren’t easy to talk about, but maybe they got some things to get off their chest. And as a Christian, you can be there to hear, understand, and not judge them. If they’re not a Christian, be gentle and maybe share about how God has gotten you through tough times. Our job is to shine God’s light not to blind them with it.
5. Respect boundaries and privacy
These moments of edification should happen in private and in appropriate settings. Exercise discernment and caution with who you reach out to and what you talk about. Don’t broadcast other’s problems or make sure everyone can see that you’re being nice in public. Be direct but loving. We need to build each other up in Christ and in order to do that, we need to stop focusing on the surface while ignoring the deep stuff.
” Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
James 1:12 (NIV)
If you’re wanting to be the one helping with people’s crowns and you’re not sure how it should look or what it should feel like, just look at the fruit of the spirit in Galations 5. Does your interaction demonstrate the Godly attributes it needs to? You might not get the results you want, but it’s never wrong to offer someone something good. It’s never harmful to make someone feel treasured. It’s never wasted to share the love of Jesus.
Strengthen your brothers and sisters. Offer them someone better to look at than just you. Show them love, show them Jesus.
I first heard the term ‘Christianese’ in college. My Christian college. Since then, my eyes have been opened to this whole other language that’s exclusive to us believers. That may sound obvious, I mean, doesn’t every group have their own go-to phrases?
But Christianese has more negativity attached to it and that’s
the complete opposite of what we want. Can it be avoided? What do we do about it?
Do we need to do anything about it? These are the questions I want answered!
***Disclaimer: I realize I may even have some Christianese
sprinkled in this blog. That’s my point.
I’m not going to call out these phrases specifically, but if you’d like some examples of Christianese, just take a listen to the people in your Bible study, your church, and unfortunately, Christian comedians. Take note of the statements you hear repeated almost verbatim by different people. These are the phrases that get satirized by the world and even our own people. And that can’t be a good thing. Who will respect the God we worship if we don’t even respect Him?
As Christians, we want to appeal to those who don’t know for themselves the life-giving power and love of Jesus. We want to encourage and edify others, not sound like worn out bells. We can’t let our comfort in the words and phrases we’ve heard or grown up with inhibit others from taking the gospel seriously.
We’re in a tough place. As soon as we mention Jesus or God or the Bible, we’ve entered into churchy language. That can’t be helped, and those who take offense are those who probably don’t want to hear about it anyway. I feel like that’s the type of Christianese that can’t be avoided. I want to talk about Jesus! I don’t want to preach, but I want to share what Jesus is doing in my heart, and I think there’s a difference.
Now, the other extreme would be to quit talking about God or
biblical things altogether to avoid sounding Christiany. That would be
compromising your beliefs and your testimony based on cultural opinion. I don’t
want to scare you out of saying certain things. Don’t be ashamed! Just be aware.
So, though the lingo is part of the territory, I think we need to be conscious of how we’re delivering it. Are we just reciting the church script or are we speaking from the heart?
The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.
Proverbs 18:4 (NIV)
Let’s take the time to examine our words. Do we actually know what these familiar concepts mean to us? Process the verses, digest the truths, and meditate on how they affect your life. Maybe when you’re faced with an opportunity to share with someone or pray for another, you can do so confidently knowing what you’re talking about.
It’s not about saying something correctly. It’s not about memorizing the jargon to feel like you belong in the group. It’s about understanding what’s going on in your heart and being able to articulate it to others in the most authentic way possible.
Now, don’t clobber me if you feel like I’m attacking people
who use these phrases. I do it too! But ever since I noticed it, I became
frustrated by it, and I set out to use that awareness to better understand my
beliefs and express them in a way that maybe
can help people relate more. I hope this information will also enhance your
ministry as well.
What are your thoughts? Am I making too big a deal of this? Or
is Christianese too sacred to tweak? Let me know in the comments!
“We all learn lessons in life. Some stick, some don’t. I have always learned more from rejection and failure than from acceptance and success.”
2019 has held promise, but that promise has been suspended
above me and I haven’t been able to reach it. Instead, I’m standing on a
tightrope and rejection keeps giving the rope a shake, threatening to make me
Trying to figure out what to do is pretty much the motto of your twenties and this year has been no exception. I took some risks, held out hope for amazing job opportunities, auditioned for ministry projects, and sent out some stories and manuscripts to several publishers. Can’t get anywhere unless you put yourself out there, right?
For months, I received rejection after rejection. I surprised myself at how well I handled it at first. As a writer, you quickly learn it’s is part of the competitive industry. But when more areas in my life were met with rejection, I found myself starting to stack it against God.
I always pray that God’s will be done instead of mine. I firmly believe in Him opening and closing doors according to His will. But how many doors can you get slammed in your face before you start taking it personally?
I doubted my ability in every sense of the word, and I
doubted God. It’s easy to believe He can do all things, but will He do them for
me? I started listing all the rejections I’d received and the more I dwelt on
them, the more discouraged I became.
The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. Psalm 37:23,24
It’s easy to let Satan use the rejections and failures in your life to steer you away from trusting God while God’s trying to use them to steer you toward His purpose. We need to remember that IF we surrender our way to the Lord, He will guide our path.
Use the roadblocks, the pitfalls, and the detours to your
advantage. Praise God for His direction and constantly remind yourself to trust
that He knows the way for you to go. He’s got the job for you, He’s holding the
opportunity for you, and He’s saving the place for you to be.
Our trust honors His promise and He is faithful just as we
should be. Don’t let the rejection fuel your worries. Don’t let the failures
define your worth. It’s a waste of time.
Meanwhile, I’ve got my first book coming out—the first, I hope and pray, of many. (see ‘Books’ page)
In a previous blog, we discussed how to honor God with
a career that’s not necessarily Christian. Now, we get into the nitty gritty as
we answer the question: What do we do when we work in an environment that
doesn’t support Godly principles and people who don’t believe the same way we
This is probably a situation that most of us will fall
into when following a career path. If we’re not careful, we can find ourselves
blending in with a toxic environment and fail to be the light that Jesus wants
us to be. So, if you want to know how you can “do everything for the glory of
God,” here are some helpful tips.
Respect those in higher positions (Romans 13:5)
We may not always agree with how our
bosses choose to run the show, but they’re the ones who have been placed in
authority for whatever reason. The more respect given, the more respect earned.
Remember, the truest testament of respect is when it’s demonstrated without the
what you say (Ephesians 4:29)
Nothing hurts you faster than your
own words. One statement in poor taste can damage your reputation, your
relationships, and your witness. It’s wise to practice self-control when it
comes to what you say. Being true to yourself doesn’t mean saying whatever you
want. People speak with enough negativity to last several lifetimes. You should
be the one to speak with encouragement, compassion, and love.
down the complaints (Philippians 2:14)
The verse is self-explanatory. Don’t
complain. Don’t argue. People say they don’t want to work in a drama-filled
environment, yet it’s amazing how much drama we still find in our workplaces.
Sometimes it can be boiled down to those two traits. If you remember Who you’re
doing the work for, maybe that will help when the job frustrations eat at you.
Praise the Lord for your job—you have it because He blessed you with it.
honest (Proverbs 12:22)
The Bible says let your yes be yes
and your no be no. No gray areas. Let your work be just as honest and your
words just as sure. Because one day, someone will come against you and your integrity
(or lack thereof) will speak for itself. Be the person your managers and
coworkers can trust.
It doesn’t take long to realize the importance of
these qualities in someone especially in the workplace. What you need to ask yourself
is what kind of employee do you want to be? What kind of Christian do you want
You don’t always need to stand on your desk chair and
proclaim Jesus to the office. You don’t need to carry the thickest Bible you
have under your arm everywhere you go. You can, however, always ask God to give
you opportunities to shine His light, because He will. In the meantime, walk,
talk, and work according to His Word and you will give Him the most honor wherever