Thursday, October 2, 2014

a story of God's love, mercy, and redemption, told by an 18-year-old

{This is a different post than what you usually see on my blog but I felt like it needed to be shared. If you don't like it, just check back next time or scroll through to see some other posts.}

Tonight I cried a sweet cry of redemption at my new church home. I wanted to go to the worship service at another campus ministry but one of my suitemates wanted to go to the one at our new church, so we got in the car and drove over for the 8 o'clock meeting. The guest pastor started his message in Matthew 16 and titled his talk, "The Spark" and I listened intently, Bible open and pen in hand. The pastor spoke about how Jesus was like their Super Bowl back in the day and everyone would watch to see what He'd do next. Jesus asked the disciples "Who do you say I am?" and Peter replied "You are the Messiah." Jesus said later in Matthew 16: 24, "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me." The pastor then spoke on each piece of this verse. Jesus said "if anyone would." Like He knows the world and hopes that they would turn from their sins. "He must deny himself." Jesus wants us to give up our worldly items and desires in order to truly follow Him. "Take up his cross and follow Me." Answer your calling and follow the one who truly matters. The message was titled "The Spark" because God wants a better life for us so that we can be a light to those around us. Like a simple match can lead to destruction, we can be that positive influence in this world.

The next few verses weren't covered in the message but are some of my favorite verses in the Bible. "For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done." God wants awesome things for us. Things we cannot ever attain on our own, and all He asks is that we follow Him and lose the material-obsessed and desire-fueled fleeting lives on earth and pursue a relationship with our Heavenly Father.

I was so overcome with emotion because I knew this message was something I really needed to hear and God got me to that service because He knew it too. It was like He was just laughing to himself like, "Listen up, this one's for you!" I have become so consumed with college; from obsessing about what I look like and my grades, to who I'm hanging out with and what guys think of me and I've left my relationship with God in the dust. I have a hard time trusting that God's plan is intentional and for a reason and that He has my best interest and knows what He's doing. I worry about everything I can and end up doing things my way, the way that is destined to fail.

I feel so convicted and so ready to start fresh with my relationship with God. That service was a huge wakeup call and reassurance of what I already knew I needed to change. I can't do anything on my own and the only reason why I'm here and still here is because God has a greater purpose for my life and it has nothing to do with the worldly desires of my heart. He probably just wanted to shake me and say "I want better for you! You are my beautiful daughter and I created you exactly how you are for a reason!" but it took me making mistakes and choosing my way over His for me to finally see this.

I can't express how important it is to have a relationship with Jesus. This isn't me being cheesy or trying to be a Bible-thrower (you know, the people who force religion on you). This is the honest truth. God sent His only Son to die for us so that we could spend an eternity with Him and we can spend an eternity with Him if we give our lives to Jesus. How freaking awesome is that?! Like just think of this if it was in the real-world. What if my earthly father sent my brother who was known as the "savior and messiah" to die so that we could all live? (Hokey example, I apologize.) My brain can't fathom that because it is beyond our understanding and it will always blow our minds. We have done absolutely nothing to deserve the best gift we will ever receive and we can do absolutely nothing to make the Lord love us any less. He loves us when we are unloveable, hateful, cruel, mean-spirited, and sinful. He loves us when we're grinning from ear-to-ear and when we're having our own little pity party. He made us exactly the way we are for a reason and He has a plan for all of us.

I wasn't intending on writing anything tonight but I felt compelled to share what's going on in my life right now with the few people who may see this and man, am I excited for what God is doing.

I love you, I love you, I love you and God loves you a whole heck of a lot more.

xoxo, Molly

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