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Salvation

The Power of the Cross

FaithJessica Scheks1 Comment

{I had a super busy weekend and was unable to post for day 9, 10, and 11 of #Write31Days. My church hosted a youth meeting and I kept 6 people in our tiny apartment. It was an amazing weekend but also extremely exhausting!}

So enough excuses. Today I'm sharing about the most miraculous salvation story I've ever heard! My friend Christa told me about it over the weekend. This is going to be a pretty short post, but you will finish reading it with no doubt in your mind that God is REAL! So here is the story...

A man was on a swim team and one of his teammates often talked about becoming a Christian to him but he just had no interest. I'm not sure how long this went on but it sounds like his friend was pretty persistent.

So after hearing about Jesus for however long, this young man went to practice diving one evening at the pool. He was all alone and the moonlight shining in through the windows provided enough light that he didn't turn on the lights. He was going to do a backwards dive and as he raised both hands up to prepare to dive he saw that his shadow formed a cross and suddenly he had an overwhelming feeling to get down on his knees and pray!

This man gave his life to God on that diving board! Soon after a janitor walked in and asked what he was doing. Unbeknownst to this young man, the pool had been drained earlier that day. If he would've dove off that board he most likely would have died. And he realized even more how REAL God is!

This story just gives me chills and is such an amazing reminder that God is always there. He always knows where we are. If we reach up to Him He will always reach down to us. He is never going to leave us hanging without an answer. HE IS SO GOOD!

This is day 12 of the #Write31Days Challenge, to view more challenges click here. For a complete list of my posts in this challenge, click here.

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!

Saving Power of the Bible

FaithJessica ScheksComment

This past Sunday in church, a brother from the Gideonites came to our service and spoke to our congregation about their mission and what they are doing all over the world to share God's precious Holy Word. He shared story after story about people from all over the world and how receiving a Gideon Bible brought them to salvation.

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{Side note: The Gideons are the ones who make sure there is a Bible in every hotel room, motel room, and hospital room in the United States.}

As this man spoke, the statistics he shared with us about how many people in countries like Pakistan (places I wouldn't expect to have so many people gladly accepting God's Word) were astounding. I can't remember each number, but there were several stories that stuck out to me:

In a remote jungle somewhere in South America there was a drug lab of about forty men. In that drug lab happened to be one New Testament from the Gideons. The men fought each day over who got to read it. The drug lab is now shut down, every single man was saved, and over ten have gone on to become pastors! This story made me tear up while listening - I was listening to a miracle!

There was another story about a woman in California addicted to cocaine and heroin who had hit rock bottom when she found a Gideon Bible. She slowly began reading it; it wasn't like she read one scripture and her life completely changed. But now she's been sober for many years and is a believer!

And there were at least half a dozen more stories about so many people in foreign countries who had no way of obtaining a copy of God's Word until the Gideonites came and distributed it to them. And just from reading the Bible, these people were saved!

While sitting in service listening to this man speak, the thought came to my mind, "God's Word has saving POWER!" I began to think about how miraculous it was that people who had only read the Word were so touched by it that they developed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and accepted him as their Savior. Growing up in America, I feel like many of us really take the Bible for granted because it's so easily accessible. We can read it whenever we want, it's definitely not considered rare like it is in other regions of the world. And I just kept thinking about what an amazing testimony that would be -- to say that you began reading a Bible given to you by a missionary group and the stories were so powerful and transforming that it caused you to have a hunger and desire for Jesus that could not be filled by the Word alone so you asked him into your heart to be your personal Savior.

Since the Bible is so common to me and many other Americans, I feel ashamed because I don't feel that way when I read the Bible. It's something I've grown up with; something that's always there; something I take for granted. Even though I felt so much joy listening to the man speak to our congregation I also felt a call to repentance and prayer - asking the Lord for forgiveness for not recognizing the power contained in the Scriptures every time I read, and pleading to Him to anoint my mind as I read the Scriptures so that I can view them the way that so many around the world have as it was the only way they came to know Jesus Christ!

Our pastor spoke before the Gideon brother, and he brought out 2 Timothy 3:16-16 >> "ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."

My heart was overwhelmed and I wrote a prayer down in my church notebook while the Gideon brother was still speaking:

Lord, please bless me as I read Your Word - touch my mind as I draw from the Well of Living Water that I would feel that saving power that so many have felt while reading a Gideon Bible in a hotel, jail, drug house in a jungle, or on the street that has transforming power. Thank you, Lord for Your divine Word!

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As I typed out this prayer, I was thinking of what I need to do on my end for the Lord to answer my prayer. First and foremost, I need to dig deep into the Word every day. And before I do that, I need to pray this prayer each time I read. The Bible is the Bread of Life - just like Manna, it should be eaten daily. You can't expect to receive the life-giving power if you don't eat from it daily. You can't eat a week's worth in one day either, just like the Israelites could only gather enough manna to last them for the day, you can't "work ahead" on your Bible reading. You are working on creating a lifelong relationship with the Lord, you need to take it one day at a time, and spend time getting to know Him daily. You could never date someone and expect to get married if you weren't diligent about getting to know them and spending time with them! Each day starts anew! God's mercies are new for you every single day - so spend time with Him each day in His Word. When I make a point to do this, it doesn't matter necessarily how my day goes; it always feels like it was a great day since I started it off with such a great perspective. A perspective focused on eternity that helps me to realize what really matters.

Join me in praying that we can form lifelong habits of digging into the Word each day so that I can receive the life giving, saving POWER that God's Word has to offer us! Comment below with tips or strategies you use to read daily and keep yourself accountable!