carried + loved collective


Psalm 51:12

FaithJessica Scheks2 Comments

psalm 5112This verse hit me like a ton of bricks a couple weekends ago. It's something that has been on my heart for months and I'm sure I have read this block of scripture countless times. But the part that always stood out to me was two verses prior: "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." I still love that verse. But the power of verse 12 had never really resonated with me until a minister from Lancaster, CA brought it out and spoke on restoring the zeal that many "new" Christians have upon being saved. It's something that has been bothering me because I feel like I don't have as much joy as I should considering I am SAVED from eternal death because Jesus Christ died for me despite being perfect himself.

It's almost like it's such a big concept that it's hard for me to put my small human mind around and fully grasp; like it's too good to be true -- but I want to grasp it more. I want to be noticeably joyful in every moment of my life because Jesus died for all of our moments whether they are good or bad. I want to be in absolute awe + wonder when I think of Jesus. I want the thought of salvation to bring me to joy-filled tears. I want to feel even more unworthy than I already do because I come to more of a realization of what Jesus did for me everyday of my life. I not only want the joy I had to be restored to me, I want more of that joy! I just want MORE Jesus.

Getting more of Jesus is so simply laid out for us in the Bible, yet it is so hard for us to attain. John 3:30 states it plainly:  "He must increase, but I must decrease." I wish it were that simple! Dying to self is arguably the hardest thing that we will face as humans on this side of glory. BUT, it is how we will get to glory. So it's not an option but it's still hard. So I've been praying and asking the Lord a lot lately to restore that joy, to put me in my place and show me how AWEsome He is, and to show me ways that I can get to where I need to be. And the answers I feel like I've gotten back so far have been pretty simple. I NEED MORE JESUS! In every way possible, I need more of him. And just as John 3:30 states, to get more of him, there must be less of me.

I can't just pray and ask for more of Jesus without doing anything on my end. I have to empty myself to make more room for him. I am praying for a pure + clean heart with the knowledge that my heart is divided. This concept became so real to me after hearing a minister describe that the opposite of a pure heart is a divided heart. I suddenly had this image of my heart:

divided heart

I envisioned a pie chart in the form of a heart with all of the things that I sometimes, even if it's just momentarily, allow to take priority over my relationship with Jesus. I need to empty my heart of my desire for those things over Jesus. I can still enjoy them, but I have to be so careful that they don't begin to override the importance of Jesus in my life! I'm reminded of the quote I blogged about several weeks ago: "Anything you are unwilling to let go of becomes an idol." ANYTHING. Something as simple and innocent as coffee could become an idol if you refused to give it up for the Lord. I don't feel like He's asking me to give up coffee, but if He were just for the sake of testing my faith, I better be able to give it up! So I'm trying to prepare my heart, because I want it to look like this:

pure heart

I want my heart to be ALL FOR JESUS! I don't even want it to momentarily beat for something other than my Savior, Lord, and King!

So in case you hadn't noticed, I changed the name of my blog! It was originally just my name because I couldn't think of anything that was catchy enough and hadn't already been taken. I also wanted my blog name to be meaningful. And upon hearing this scripture I knew it would be my blog name, and my {future} Etsy shop name {RestoringTheJoy}, and my Instagram username {@restoringthejoy}. So this post gave you all of the insight into the name change!

An Endlessly Misinterpreted Scripture

FaithJessica Scheks3 Comments

About a week or so ago I read this post by Lori over at Always Learning. She was talking about contentment and spending less because materials goods have no value -- eternally speaking. She mentioned a verse that I constantly see on Pinterest, that is sometimes posted on Facebook when someone is going through a trial, and is quoted by many in the Christian world. The problem is that people always quote the NIV {this post is not intended to debate which version is the best} instead of the KJV. I've always been taught that the KJV is closer to the original translation and I often use the Strong's KJV concordance while studying to really help me understand a verse better since some of the vocabulary is rarely used anymore or used differently in this day and age.

The verse is Jeremiah 29:11 -- you have probably heard it quoted this way many times:

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'"

However Lori quoted it from the KJV Bible and it takes on an entirely different feeling and meaning:

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

{I'm sure I've read this scripture a dozen or so times in the KJV Bible, but it never really struck me until today.}

Now I didn't mean to be super harsh by crossing out the first version of this scripture, but the world tends to interpret this verse very incorrectly when read from this version. They believe that God has a very specific plan for them filled with only good things; they will never be harmed and no matter what they will always have a hope for eternity.

First off -- this scripture is about the Israelites as a whole, it's definitely not directed towards one specific individual, but rather a large nation. People today take it is a promise that God will specifically make sure no harm comes their way as an individual. But by reading more of the Bible we know that trials are going to come our way. Just because we are going through a trial does not mean God has forsaken us! Psalm 34:19 tells us that "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them ALL!" {Emphasis mine.}

I feel like to continue this post I'm going to have to mention the concept of predestination >> Personally I believe that God predestines certain events, certain jobs for certain people, etc. But I do not believe that He predestines every aspect of every person's life. If He did it seems to me that we would not have free will, or the ability to make choices. My two main "arguments" are that first of all, God has given us the ability to make choices because we have the ability to sin. But if God predestined every single decision we made, then when we did sin would it be God's fault? I think we know the answer. It definitely would not be God's fault. Secondly, if God knew the outcome of everything then praying would be pointless. In Mark 7:25-30, the Syrophoenician Woman changed the mind of God by asking Jesus a second question in order to have the demon driven out of her daughter. If it were predestined that Jesus would not heal her daughter, then her asking a second question and persisting that her daughter be healed wouldn't have changed anything.

Something else that we need to consider is the fall of mankind -- we failed. Therefore we have a curse on this earth which explains much of the evil and sickness that we must endure. If we had not fallen, death would not be a fear of humans because we were not made to die. But mankind decided to sin; it was a decision, and now we have to live with the consequences.

Taking all of this into consideration will tell you that, yes, Christians along with everyone else in the world will go through trials and suffer at some point, but we also have a hope that the rest of the world doesn't have -- That if we continue to walk with God while we're being tested we will come forth as gold! (Job 23:10)

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:" // Romans 8:1-3

Jesus made us free! He suffered to make us free. He suffered. He sinlessly suffered to make sinners free. {There is no greater love!} But this means we will also suffer, but we will suffer for Christ's sake! Suffering for Jesus seems like the least I could do since he did everything for me and yet I feel unworthy even to suffer in his name let alone be blessed.

And even though this scripture doesn't mean what so many believers think it means, it doesn't take any of the glory from our God! He does know you personally, after all He created you. He formed you. He is YOUR {personal, loving, all-knowing, amazing, graceful, merciful} GOD!