Archive for The Bible

In the Midst of the Pain, I Grow

Following Jesus is hard. I constantly put aside what I want to try to please him. I find myself falling over in his love, wondering if I can pray harder, run faster, say more, draw more, write more to tell about Jesus. I feel myself immersed in his message, pulling my hair out to share about his good news, even when I’m tired. Constantly tired, defeated, but I push on.

Lately, I feel like my heart has been kind of on the rocks. I love God with all my heart, but he has been silent with me for so long, I desperately want him to talk to me, because I’ve been in a lot of pain. I want him to explain why Lacey Mosley gets married or my friend hears God speak to him or why everyone seems to be on their way, following the path God leads them to, and why I feel left behind.

I ask God every day why I feel empty, unloved, left out. He doesn’t respond. I cry and my heart breaks, and he doesn’t make a peep. I know he loves me, but I don’t understand why I am in so much pain. I look back: what sin had I committed? Where did I go wrong? Why is Perry Noble or my friends so much more special than me? Why will he help them with problems that seem so tiny, while I have problems that honestly make me want to shoot myself?

I hate to admit it, because I want God to actually talk to me like he has done in the past, but I hate admitting that even when he will not please me by talking this way, he is in in actuality talking to me all the time. He speaks to all of us all the time. How? He speaks through his word- through the bible.

I admit, it seems soooo unfair. Why do other people get the easy way out, when I have to dig deep to find the meaning myself, do the research? How can I handle doing so when my heart is in pieces, when it’s so hard to focus without bursting into tears because of my emptiness? I don’t know. I find myself constantly frustrated and furious with God because of this. But when I force myself through the pain, and read my book of quotes from the bible, it helps to heal my heart a lot. I’ll be hating how God is treating me, and I’ll look up something about being depressed and find:

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you cross rivers, you will not drown. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned, nor will the flames hurt you.” Isaiah 43:2

“His anger lasts only a moment, but his kindness lasts for a lifetime. Crying may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

“My friends, do not be surprised at the terrible trouble which now comes to test you. Do not think that something strange is happening to you. But be happy that you are sharing in Christ’s sufferings so that you will be happy and full of joy when Christ comes again in glory.” 1 Peter 4:12-13

“I will give them a crown to replace their ashes, and the oil of gladness to replace their sorrow, and clothes of praise to replace their spirit of sadness. Then they will be called Trees of Goodness, trees planted by the Lord to show his greatness.” Isaiah 61:3

And each time I read these little sections, I find myself uncovering pieces of God’s heart.

My heart bomb about to explode with anger gets defused little by little. It seems so freakin’ impossible, when all I want to do is hurt God like he has watched me get hurt. But each time I read, his spirit of peace is like weights on my soul- holding me down and grounding me in his outstanding love again. It’s like when I read, I see the true face of God. I feel I can dig myself out of all my impossible holes I dig myself in. Even holes I get stuck in that I have not dug for myself.

A characteristic of my suffering heart lately is that I feel so fragile and that I am certainly about to break at any moment. But somehow when I am floating aimlessly in a sea of confusion, these words anchor my soul:

“God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient. And you will joyfully give thanks to the Father who has made you able to have a share in all that he has prepared for his people in the kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:11-12

“He gives strength to those who are tired and more power to those who are weak. Even children become tired and need to rest, and young people trip and fall. But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again. They will rise up as an eagle in the sky; they will run and not need rest; they will walk and not become tired.” Isaiah 40:29-31

“I will not leave you all alone like orphans; I will come back to you.” John 14:18

“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

“If my father and mother leave me, the Lord will take me in.” Psalm 27:10

This love anchors my soul, and I find myself waking up on God’s boat, knowing I am traveling in the right direction. I was lost at sea, and this truth and his unbelievably glorious and strong heart pulls me in.

A lot of times, I used to feel like it was crap that the bible could heal your broken heart. But when I’m in so much pain that any sane person would consider it too much and kill themselves to get out of it, I trust in the Lord, and just as I think he is about to let me die, he pulls me in and brings me back to life. When I feel like I am absolutely without a shadow of a doubt breathing my last, he breathes life into me.

The Lord is mysterious in this way. You always expect him to be there for you, but not quite in the way you had in mind. The same way bandages cover up cuts and bruises, his words take the sting out of the unending pain, and I can make it through another day. I get so freakin’ furious that I can’t be like everyone else, even to the point that I wanted to strangle him. But I pull tight to his grace, and wrap myself in humility, and take on this challenge to be different in the Lord.

The bible heals and challenges you and helps to strech and grow you. It reveals the very character of God. Take time to read it for maybe 10 or 20 minutes every morning. Pray that the Lord will reveal his heart to you, and show you what he wants you to see through reading. If you are in a lot of pain, look for sections that talk about healing. There is always something to find.

I’m praying for all you guys. God bless you all! 🙂

*The bible quotes books I’m reading: GOD’S PROMISES for every day

Reading the Bible, Emotions, Samaritan’s Purse

I am journeying through the bible- this is my 2nd time. I read the whole bible and finished a little over a month ago, and now I am reading through again. I would like to challenge myself to start memorizing scripture, so whenever my heart needs help from the Lord, all I have to do is remember verses and phrases that help inspire me.

Normally, when I feel bad, I have to go look up verses, but now I can write the words on my heart:

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-9

I am putting the words of God in my heart, so I remember then wherever I go. They will be with me when I rise in the morning and when I lie down, whenever I am in pain and whenever I feel peace. Always, they will be with me.

This time as I am reading the bible, I am trying to watch the scenes unfold in my head, like seeing Jacob and his family making their way to Egypt to live there and be with Joseph. I am trying to feel real people and real sitautions and real feelings. The more the word comes alive in my mind and heart, the better I understand it and the more I trust in it.

I am struggling with crying a lot and with eating. I am praying that God will free me from the loneliness in my life and asking him to be the man in my life by leading me and guiding me and loving me. I don’t want to feel so dependent on romantic relationships, so I am trying to channel that pain into something beautiful, by spending more time with Jesus on the daily basis.

“I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:32-33, 35

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.” Isaiah 54:10

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

I am working on my ever-present feelings of loneliness. I don’t want to cry when I see happy couples, I want to feel strong and grounded. Faithful and secure in the promise of Christ, not weak and weary with desire.

I have also had this problem with eating. I don’t want to eat breakfast or lunch… I have to force msyelf to eat. I could eat two small things and be good for the rest of the day, and then wake up the next day, not eat breakfast, and have to force myself to eat lunch. My body just does not crave food. I desperately hope the Lord will help me fix this, because I don’t want to accidently starve myself.

I know good and well my body needs nutrition, regardless of if I feel hungry or not. 😦

Anyhoo, tomorrow, when I get paid, I am going to start donating some of the $100 I said I would spend on Samaritan’s Purse donations. It feels so good to help introduce the name and poweful mercy of Jesus Christ to so many hurting people. I could never give enough money for this cause!!! 🙂

Click here to Accept Christ!

xoxox Jennifer Clayton

The Most Healing Words

I have this book called GOD’S PROMISES for every day, and I was just reading it. All it really is is bible verses selected for different phases of life. When I read bible verses, whenever I am in pain or feel like I am losing faith in God, the verses help make me feel loved and keep me from getting discouraged. They make me feel safe like Jesus will protect me.

Sometimes we all forget how healing these words can be. This is one thing that is so attractive and genuine about Christianity. You can read a bible verse a thousand times, and each time, discover something new about it, look at it in a different way, it can radically change you and help you grow each time. It never gets old. It’s because God’s word is overwhelmingly filled with his love. Each time I read, I feel his love reach my heart and kiss it. It teaches me discipline and patience and integrity. It teaches me to have grace and mercy because Jesus had grace and mercy towards me. It teaches me humility and strength, and fills me with the richest kind of wisdom. I directly feel God’s love for me when I read.

When I feel broken and torn up inside- when I feel misused, his words truly heal my broken heart and bandages my wounds. It pours peace and hope into all my internal cuts and bruises. It takes the very sting out of the pain the world has caused me.

It is my closest, most sacred and important friend because the word is God-inspired. It’s God’s words, wrote down by man. I watch myself heal from the most pain I have ever been in my life- and that anyone could call that fake by calling Christianity fake- is someone who obviously has never experienced the peace is brings. It challenges and comforts you all in one. People who don’t believe, such as atheists, travel in this world feeling alone. When life knocks them down, they don’t know the eternal peace God has given us so that we have grace in all situations we are in, bad or good. They have not experienced the strength and mercy of the Lord. That is one hell of a dangerous place to be: travelling the world, alone in your heart.

I have decided to write some powerful verses from the book, GOD’S PROMISES for every day, here:

Because of his love, God has already decided to make us his own children through Jesus Christ. That was what he wanted and what pleased him, and it brings praise to God because of his wonderful grace. God gave that grace to us freely, in Christ, the One he loves. In Christ we are set free by the blood of his death, and so we have forgiveness of sins. How rich is God’s grace. Ephesians 1:5-7

But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done. 1 John 1:9

Enjoy serving the Lord, and he will give you what you want. Depend on the Lord; trust him, and he will take care of you. Psalm 37:4-5

Then Jesus said, “I am the bread that gives life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35

For his own sake, the Lord won’t leave his people. Instead, he was pleased to make you his own people. 1 Samuel 12:22

I will not leave you alone like orphans; I will come back to you. John 14:18

So faith comes from hearing the Good News, and people hear the Good News when someone tells them about Christ. Romans 10:17

Every time I hear stuff from the bible, every time I read it, it resonates in my heart in a new way. It’s hard to explain. It’s like God’s voice speaking to me and loves echoes throughout my soul. Spend some time studying the word. Get closer to God doing so. You learn about him, and how to live an upright life. The bible is strength and protection and hope. It builds bridges where there are no bridges; builds bridges where the heart is broken.

It is the foundation of good living. It is so firm and it gives you something firm to stand up, something to hold on to. It teaches you and shows you how to be disciplined. It is mighty and challenges you to constantly change for the better.

These are the most healing words. Words written down by men, inspired by God himself. Read it, be blown over in the love of it all, and learn the true nature and character of God’s heart. It’s one of the best ways to get close to him. And also, pray. 🙂

What on Earth Am I Here For? It All Starts with God

Reflections on what I read from Daily Inspiration for the Purpose Driven Life

“A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.” Proverbs 11:28 The Message

“For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.” Colossians 1:16 The Message

“Jesus said, ‘Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.’” Matthew 16:25 The Message

“Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.” Romans 8:6 The Message

“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” Ephesians 1:11 The Message

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We should focus on God. That is the only true way to get out of a cramped life of slavery to the things that surround us. What surrounds us are things of the world, and idolatry leads us only to death. We should seek the face of Jesus Christ and attempt to always be close to him, because he leads us away from the things of this world to follow him closely, so that we may be like him.

He was made in the exact likeness of God, and we are made in God’s likeness, therefore we are designed to be like Christ. This means rebelling against the sinful ways of the world—the ways that bring about endless destruction to those who follow it all their days. Being in Jesus protects us from this, because we become like him in the way we think and act and feel and do.

His own Spirit resides in us, so we start to see the world through his eyes, and all we do will begin to reflect our growth in our walk with God and closeness to his Spirit. He desires us to be opposite of the world, and by being so, we do not face endless destruction, but an eternity with the glorious King of the Universe, and we will glorify him even more in heaven.

God is the beginning of everything, and knew us before we came to be, and Jesus saved us while we were still sinners, and so he shows us his love in this way. The sooner we can realize that we are created for God’s purpose, the sooner we can find escape from this deadly world and freedom in all of life.

Click here to Accept Christ!

Spending Time Reading the Bible

Wooohooooooo!!!!!! God had put it in my heart to finish the bible and I finally did it today. I made it one of my New Year’s Resolutions, and for each of the books of the bible I read, I would give myself a small reward- by doing something I really enjoy. It really motivated me. In general, I was very motivated to do this because I am so in love with Christ and this is what he wanted me to do, so I was eager to be obedient and obey. I always listen to God when he calls me to do something, because I am so certain he knows what is best for me. 🙂

It is very effective to break the bible up and try to read it little by little, instead of looking at it as a whole and overwhelming yourself. Don’t think, ‘I’m going to try to read the whole bible.’ Think, ‘I’m going to read 1 section today.’ An by reading small sections every day, you eventually read the whole thing. There are two sayings:

“Little by little, one walks far.”
and
“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

Take it step by step so not to overwhelm yourself. And reward yourself for reading parts of te bible. This is something that will motivate you.

But anyway, I was basically at the beginning of Revelation this morning (after I read through 2 John, 3 John, and Jude), and it was insane- a lot of interesting stuff, destruction; but I wrote it on my heart and believed it, because that’s what I’m supposed to do. I wholeheartedly trust that all the word of God is true.

The whole bible was very interesting. The theme I noticed most was God constantly trying to reach his people, and while a small group of people would try to focus on him and listen to him, the majority got swept away with sin and got caught up in doing evil things. It broke my heart that his chosen pepole, Israel, were given many opportunities to enjoy his friendship and worship him and live good lives, but they constantly fell in love with other false gods and idols. They worshipped cows made of jewelry, fertility gods, you name it. ):!!

God tried so hard to rescue his people from their sinful lifestyles of idolatry, greed, sexual immorality, etc. But they turned away. Sometimes, people think that God in the Old Testament was way too harsh, but I honestly think that’s a big fat lie.

He simply loved his people and sought after them so they could live rich and fulfilled lives with him, dedicated to his teaching. He simply wanted to lead them to live upright lives like any good and caring father would. Truly, it is because of the Israelites constantly ignoring God’s constant love and instruction that caused so many people to die and brought so much destruction. God was truly not mean; he was loving, kind, forgiving, compassionate.

But think in terms of life today. What happens when you ignore what your parents say over and over and only get caught up in a bunch of bad stuff that you want to do like drugs, sex, whatever? Though your parents love you dearly, after so much, they get fed up and really have to discipline you. It feels like they are ruining your life, but they are trying to keep you safe and protect you by having rules and order in the house. God is simply the same way and after so much time, with a brutally crushed heart, he is forced to discipline his children.

All I see is stubborn people falling away from a loving God. And that is true thought the bible. God raises some people up who live holy, upright lives and follow his commands, and those humble people are the ones he uses to change the nations and try to get them to believe in his name. Some of these are people like David and Moses and some of the prophets. God is always trying to give people a chance, it is just that peple persistantly choose not to take advantage of that.

In the New Testament, Jesus lives his perfect life, and when he gets around 30, he starts his ministry; preaching to people, and radically affecting everyone around him, causing hearts to change and fights to start up over his holy name. But still, the theme is fairly apparent; there are some people who refuse to believe he is the son of God, and Christ makes it very clear that to get to heaven and to be with God the Father, you have to have faith in him (Christ). There is only hell if you live without Christ.

Jesus says “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 NIV

People cause problems with Jesus and people choose to be ignorant, like the Israelites. But at the same time, lots of people are saved. Thousands and thousands. Christ has his apostles, and they radically spread the name of Christ and cause many people to believe. So there are always some who believe and some who don’t. I certainly believe!

But it was qutie a spiritual journey, reading through the entire bible, in which I walked and held Christ’s hand, and the hand of his Father and the Holy Spirit. I learned that the unfaithful eventually suffer- in this life and the next, and that the faithful get to enjoy treasures Christ has stored up in heaven for them. It’s so curcial to trust the Gospel, believing firmly and standing in the hope of Christ. It’s so enriching, and by obeying what he says, he allows us to live fulfilled and superbly blessed lives. He’s strong and moving, loyal and compassionate.

But I grew so much spiritually while reading. I can’t wait to see how it will affect my life; it depends on how I apply all the lessons I learned. But every time you pick up God’s word, you can learn something new, you can read a passage you’ve read a thousand times and still see something in a new and fresher way. There is so much potential for growth, so I encourage everyone to pick up the book and read. It is so necessary and it helps you gain strength and understanding of this life and the next.

Wonderful, wonderful read. I read the NIV, which is the New International Version, and now I’m about to start reading my Hug’s Bible for Women. 🙂 So super excited! I got done, and now I’m ready to start right back up again. Because I’m so certain that is what I- and all people in the world- are called to do; reflect on get changed by the word of God. Get there worlds rocked!! Woohoo!