Ariel.

Saved with amazing grace. (SWAG)

In love with Jesus Christ.

Yahweh Shammah. The LORD is there.

2 Corinthians 3:5-6 Hosea 6:6

“Life’s too short to drink crappy coffee and cry over boys who don’t care.”
-Matty Healy (the 1975)

I’m standing here, stuck in Saturday and all that’s running through my mind is that maybe these bones were just a little too dry. I feel so parched and empty, like I can’t hold onto the fact that the omnipresent God is all around me and in me and He is very much alive, not on that cross where I left Him, not in that tomb where I was laid too.
This in-between just feels so full of nothing that I forget today remembers the day that Death realized it could not hold You. And death feels all around me.
All that runs through my mind is how You said, “This one’s on Me” when Your hands weren’t even dirty. You took the filth that belonged to me, the sin I choose quite consciously and You pulled the death from my dying heart as I threw my stones and You accepted those too, gladly. You took the dying that I knew so intimately and You put it to death with love that is so much stronger and deeper than any hate I could ever see. In just three days, You broke the cage and You set me free. By The Life in His Death

Sometimes I just have a really hard time remembering that Jesus loves me in the midst of all my failure and laziness and imperfection. He loves my heart right here and right now in the midst of all my striving to change it. His patient love is there whether mine is or not.

Jesus Christ saw you when you said you wanted nothing to do with Him and He loved you. He loved the part of you that spit in His face and the part of you that clung to Him in despair. He saw the fragmented pieces of your heart that you’d given to one too many people and never to Him and He said, “yeah, I want every piece. I’ll die for it.”
He loved every spot, every scar, every mountain, every valley, and every moment in between and He looked at you drowning in yourself with no way out and said, “I want all of you forever and I will give up everything to have it.”

And He has loved us still.

"And the evil spirit answered and said to them, ‘I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?’" —Acts 19:15
Can I just say how cool it is that the enemy knows and fears us simply because of our association with Jesus Christ? Men were trying to exorcize spirits in the name of Jesus without actually knowing Him. The spirit wasn’t afraid because it knew the Stronger Man did not dwell in the exorcist.
Our relationship with Christ gives us a name in the enemy’s book. Do they know of you because you know Him? Or are you trying to call on His power without Him?

We need a reminder of who God is.

He is not a genie that you come to only when you want something.
He’s not this short, balding guy with a beard that’s trying to get you to buy into salvation.  He’s not trying to sell you something or beat around the bush to try and make following Christ more “attractive”.  God does not mask Himself or sugarcoat things.  Jesus never sugarcoated things for His disciples.

Salvation is free and it costs everything.  But He is almighty and all we need.  We need to remember that the God living in us today is the same God who has raised the dead, set the captives free, and opened blind eyes.  He is the King and we need to remember that he is living and active in us just as much as He was in the disciples.

Folded clothes in a tomb

In Jewish tradition, if you had a meal with someone and left the napkin crumpled up, it meant that you enjoyed the meal and would like to come back again. However, if you left it folded, that meant you did not enjoy the meal and you don’t want to return.
Jesus left His linen folded when he left the tomb.
We died with Him and were raised with Him. We aren’t going back either.
If we’re living at the cross, we’re forgetting that Jesus isn’t there anymore. The resurrection has happened. All things are possible. The power of sin and death has been dealt with. Nothing in this life can touch us.
Place your confidence in the risen Jesus.
He didn’t like it there, so He left.
He doesn’t plan on going back.

I don’t know what to do

When I’m surrounded by people who tell me that Jesus isn’t valid
Because He’s not a source that has been peer reviewed
And what am I supposed to say when they tell me, “Your facts aren’t right
If the only fact is that He lives in you.”?
I’m not trying to sell some product and I’m not trying to be coercive
I’m just saying that not all you see is real and not all you don’t is fake
Because no amount of “evidence” can change the truth that God has made me new.
Christ is more than just a pop culture concept and the Cross is more than an accessory
We’re trying so hard to make God relevant
But I can’t think of anything more so than a Creator who won a war to set us free
Free from condemnation, legalism, and judgment
Free from brutality and hypocrisy
Free from the mess we’ve made of things
We’re all searching for a solution and a cure.
But the only one that works is overlooked until we can’t even see it anymore
We build a cage with a deadbolt lock, but we throw away the key
Because the “experts” tell us that the concept of redemption isn’t scholarly

When you’re relying on your own goodness and strength…

You’ll be pretty exhausted all the time.
You’ll cower when darkness comes.
Your love won’t go very far before it gets overwhelmed.

The reality is…
That God’s strength alone keeps us going when it’s dark.
No darkness is too dark for Him.
No filth can reach the bottom of His love.
No day is too wrong, no situation is too bleak that He cannot step down and remake, renew, and redeem it entirely. My own strength is not enough.

That His Son may be revealed in me…

A Tidbit on love (based on sermon notes 2/2)

God’s love for you is so exquisite and uncommon that it has a fragrance sweeter than wine.  We have downplayed His love and made it into a commonplace thing like the cheap love that hollywood sells us every day.  When we downplay God’s love, we find the love in our relationships to be much less precious than it truly is.  We start to settle.

Attraction needs to be built on something so much more than what you see here.  Physical beauty is so, so fleeting.  The first and most important attraction should be spiritual.  If there is no spiritual attraction, it should top right there.  We become spiritually attractive when we go after God.  Spiritual attraction comes when we are living out His purpose for us.  Look at how a man or woman treats the church: if he or she is willing to serve the church, he or she will be willing to serve you.  Be willing to serve.

Emotional attraction: that friendship, the connection that makes you feel loved, should come after.  If you base the relationship on the nice things he tells you, if you are with her because she is sweet to you, and neither of you are very interested in what God has for you, you’ll lose sight of the bigger picture real quick.  God is the greatest opportunity you will ever have.  Christ’s love for you is the greatest romance you could ever receive.

Kingdoms

If you are not placing your hope in God and if your ultimate goal is not Him, if you are building a kingdom for yourself with things of this world, you will find one day that you have lost everything.
If, however, Christ is the end to all the means you have gathered up in this life, even when the whole world crumbles, you will have lost nothing, because He is everything.

Who You Are

Who you are, my dear, is not determined by any of the following:
- How many times you say the wrong thing
- How often you do the wrong thing
- The significant other you have at your side
- Who your father was or is
- The things you have done in the past
- Who people say you are
- What you can bring to the table

Things to remember:
- Christ bought you and made you priceless
- God made you and wants you in His family (He WANTS to be your Dad!!)
- The greatest and truest identity you will ever have is in Him
- His love for you is not based on anything you have [done/said/given/sacrificed/achieved] and therefore it will not go away based on any of those things either
- He WANTS to be involved and invested in your life

Ramblings

The father of lies may be strong, but my Jesus is stronger.  The truth may sometimes seem so far off, but my God is always near.  I cannot clean up my own act, I’m done pretending with perfection.  I am imperfect and I am broken, but I know that God holds the pieces.  He is making a work of art and I need only let Him.  He is the masterpiece.  He is the picture on my heart.  He is the painting and He is the puzzle being fitted back together.  He is the story being told.

God, increase in me that I might decrease.  Be glorified.