Things have CHANGED

It’s interesting to me how much things have changed in my life this year.  And how different I view the Bible.

The other day I bought a new Bible, and it’s sort of like a journaling Bible.  Every page on the right is blank for journaling.  And I decided that I just wanted to read the Bible straight through for what it really is-a complete letter of LOVE straight from the Lord.

So many times we get caught up in what we HAVE to do.  “Crap I didn’t spend time with God today.  I didn’t read the Bible.  I didn’t pray as much as I should.  I’m not doing as much as I should.”  We look at the Bible and prayer and service as something we have to do to please the Lord.  We think we have to be obedient and we only end up pursuing a list of things that are DRY and UNSATISFYING and LOVELESS.  There’s nothing there.  We do everything we can.  We do everything “right” that we can.  But we feel incomplete and unfulfilled.

The Lord is only interested in your obedience if it comes out of a straight IN LOVE relationship with Him.

Let me say that again.

THE LOR IS ONLY INTERESTED IN YOUR OBEDIENCE IF IT COMES OUT OF A STRAIGHT IN LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.

The Bible is so much more than we even know or think it is.  We think it’s something we need.  We think it’s something we have to DO to be close to God.  We think it’s something we have to DO to be a “good” Christian.  But we are missing the point.  While the Bible IS something we need and something that brings us closer to God, those ARENT the most important reasons why God wants us to read the Bible.  God is so RADICALLY AND INTENSELY IN LOVE with each of us that He orchestrated writing a book full of THOUSANDS of pages through ordinary people that EXPRESS His love for each of us.  The Bible has multiple stories in them, and so many times we focus on how the PEOPLE in the stories were.  The faith they had.  The actions they took.  The things they said.  But those stories were written to MOST IMPORTANTLY show the love that God had for each of those people because that is how He STILL loves us today!

So many times we focus on the ten commandments and the things we should be doing or not be doing when the most important reason the ten commandments were even spoken by the Lord was to SHOW HIS VERY NATURE AND VERY HEART.  The commandments were given to show us that God is NOT like those things.  His heart is NOT like those things.  And that He knows what’s best for us and how He made OUR hearts too.

The whole message of the Bible is to show God’s heart and love towards His people and to show His very nature, character, and Kingdom.

The book of Hosea is about how the Lord tells a man to take a prostitute as his wife.  And though the prostitute keeps leaving him and going to other men, the man always takes her back as his wife.  This book was written to show God’s VERY HEART TOWARDS US!  No matter how many people or things we run to and leave God for, He always wants to take us back.  So much that He pursues us and ASKS us to come back to Him.

Things are so different for me now.  The way my heart and eyes have been opened to God’s heart for me has transformed my life.  I can’t look at the Bible and just see rules and stories anymore.  It’s my Lovers heart : )  The Lover of my soul that I long for above anybody else.

I challenge you to read the Bible for what it REALLY IS: TRUTH AND LOVE. : )

I love you guys,

Kayla

The TRUTH we’ve been missing

It was this one night when I was sitting on my bed in my dorm at college that my roommate and best friend Brettley Ruggles told me we should watch THE TRUTH PROJECTS.  She had told me about them before.  They were a DVD series she watches in her worldview class in high school that talked all about the Bible and the truth about things.  It was a Biblically founded DVD series.

I was uninterested by interested at the same time.  And it was on this night when my eyes were completely opened to God’s love for me.

Why was Jesus born and why did He come into the world?

If i were to ask you this one question, what would you say?  I would say, “to redeem us.  To save us.  To set us free.”  All of these are great answers.  And all of these are the same answers that the people in the video gave to the teacher who was in the Truth Projects.  But… none of these answers are right.

Did you know that Jesus specifically and directly said why He was born and why He came into the world?  It was when Pilate was questioning him when the people brought him before him.

Jesus said in John 18:37,  “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Jesus came to testify to the TRUTH.  So if Jesus bluntly stated that THAT is the reason why He came, don’t you think that this is something to give a LOT of attention to?  And something to NOT take lightly?  Did you know that Jesus started things by saying, “I tell you the TRUTH..” over 75 times and he also said, “Truly, truly..” over 25 times?  Friends, this issue of truth is SO IMPORTANT.

Now I know what you’re thinking because these were MY exact thoughts:  The truth about what?  And what is truth anyway? Friends, this is the BIGGEST battle and issue in our world today, just as it was then.  In fact, the Bible is FILLED with the issue of truth from the front cover to the back cover.

“TRUTH has stumbled in the streets..”-Isaiah 59:14.

“TRUTH has perished; it has vanished from their lips.”-Jeremiah 7:28.

“TRUTH is nowhere to be found.”-Isaiah 59:15.

So what is Truth??  Actually the Webster’s dictionary from the late 1800’s says that Truth is: That which corresponds to REALITY and is PERCEIVED by GOD.

Hmmmm……. So wait a minute…. Truth is what God thinks?  What He sees?  What He says?  Who He IS?

Friends, THIS is why there is such an issue of KNOWING and ACCEPTING the LOVE of God into our lives today.  We do not truly KNOW God’s heart and character and nature.  We do not KNOW God’s love towards us.  We do not KNOW the TRUTH.

And we do not know because there is an enemy, Satan himself, who comes and puts HIS truth claims in front of us and gets us to believe HIS truth, which are LIES.

THIS HAS HAPPENED SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME!

Adam and Eve were walking the garden.  God had put His truth claims before them and then the enemy came and put his FALSE truth claims before them.  What was the very first thing the enemy did to human beings?  He counteracted GOD’S TRUTH with a lie.  “Did God REALLY say?….”Oh… you shall surely NOT die.”

This is EXACTLY what is happening in our world today.  People do not BELIEVE that God loves them.  People do not BELIEVE that God is a GRACIOUS God and that He NEVER loves them less when they mess up.  Especially Christians.

We sit in church and we hear, “If you REALLY love God, you will read your Bible every day.”  And then the next day we count the minutes we spend with God and how much we read and if we have no desire for it or we skip a day we feel like God doesn’t love us as much.  Friends, THAT is a lie.

We as humans:

SUPPRESS THE TRUTH. “The wrath of God is being revealed…of men who suppress the truth.”-Romans 1:18.

DISTORT THE TRUTH. “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the Truth.”-Acts 20:30.

REJECT THE TRUTH AND FOLLOW EVIL. “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil; there will be wrath and anger.”-Romans 2:8.

EXCHANGE THE TRUTH OF GOD FOR A LIE. “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.”-Romans 1:25.

I realized after hearing all of this that this was the BIGGEST issue in my life.  I was believing things like I had to EARN God’s love or He would love me less.  Or that I had to be humble and serve other people and love other people or I wasn’t a “good Christian”.  Friends, do not ever fall into FALSE humility.

Did you know that Humility actually means ACCEPTING the Truth?

Hmm.. This is interesting isn’t it? : ).  So how do you begin to KNOW God and His heart and love towards you and KNOW the truth and BELIEVE it?  Search the Bible.  Search the scriptures. : )  Jesus said He came to testify, or show, what was TRUE.  Which means He came not just to die for you but to show you the truth that He WANTED to die for you.  He loves you that much.  So search the scriptures.  Just LISTEN as you read.  Don’t take notes.  Put everything DOWN and just let His TRUTH sink into your heart.  A good book to start with is Song of Solomon (read it as if God is the Beloved speaking to you) : ) or Romans or 1st John.

I really pray that the Lord is opening and transforming your hearts through all of this.

I love you guys : )

Kayla

SOMETHING IS HAPPENING

Something different is happening in this generation today.

People are starting to get sick of legalism.  Sick of Christians who act like they know it all and ARE it all, but never get REAL with them.  Sick of Christians who put up a facade of “I have to be perfect” and never lay down their pride and accept the grace of God or extend that grace towards others.  And here’s the surprise:  I don’t think the people who are getting sick of these Christians are mostly non-christians.  I think half of these people are Christians themselves.

I was one of these people.  I was tired of being unsatisfied though I did EVERYTHING I could possibly think to do to be pleasing to the Lord and in right standing with Him.  I made sure I had at least read my Bible once a day, wrote in my journal, wrote songs that would be pleasing to the Lord, loved His people, served His people.  But there was something wrong.  I was doing EVERYTHING I could think of that would be right, and every time I didn’t do something or I messed up, I was extremely hard on myself.  I felt condemned and put down.  Because I thought, “Jesus came and died for me.  So I need to do this and this and this for Him.”  I lived every day trying to EARN my Jesus’ love than just accept it because He gave it freely.  I LOVED Jesus, but i didn’t understand His love for me AT ALL.  And I think this is something that the Church does NOT talk about enough today.

GRACE.

Every week we file into Church.  The youth, the adults, the leaders all go to their places.  And it seems like every week we are told things we should or can DO to make our relationships better with God.  “If you love Jesus, you should be reading your Bible every day.”  We hear statements like this and all that sinks inside of our hearts is condemnation because we DO love Jesus, and we feel like if we miss a day of reading our Bibles that He DOESN’T love us as much as He did before.  We don’t even understand why we NEED to read our Bibles.  We just do it because we don’t want God to love us LESS.

See here’s the problem:  We serve, we love, we read our Bibles, we pray, we journal, we lead worship, we lift our hands towards God.  But NOTHING is satisfying and NOTHING is right because we are not ACCEPTING the Love that God has towards us.  We can be told to not cuss, to serve, to read our Bibles, and to pray, but if those things are not coming OUT OF a direct IN LOVE WITH Jesus relationship, they are WORTHLESS.  God says in the Bible that our ‘self-righteous’ acts are as FILTHY RAGS, and in the Bible it describes filthy rags as women’s menstrual rags.  THAT is filthy.  Jesus is saying, “If Me and you are not in love, and if you are not living out of the way that I love YOU, all the good things you do are filthy to me.”

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” -1 Cor. 13:1-3.

Nothing we do in life matters if we are not simply KNOWING God, His heart, and His Kingdom.  This year, after I left high school and came to college, I realized that I didn’t know God at all.  Everything I did before was ‘self-righteous.’  I didn’t understand God’s love towards me at all.  And my eyes were soon awakened to it.

Are you ready to truly KNOW God’s love towards you?


REALIZING

It was August and time to move in.  Me, my mom, my step dad, and my friend Taylor had just unloaded all of my stuff out of that back of our tan Mountaineer.  We checked into my new dorm room, sorted everything in the room, and then my parents and Taylor prayed over me before I set off to the Chapel of Oral Roberts University, starting this new chapter in my life as a freshman in college.

Four weeks later….

It was this day four weeks later as I was sitting in my dorm room on my bed that I started to wonder about myself.  I was thinking about who I was before I came to college, and confused as to who I was now.  Before, when I was a high schooler, I was always in church.  I was there sometimes on Sunday mornings from 8 in the morning until 8 at night.  I was there every Wednesday.  I led worship in youth.  I played in Norman sometimes on Sundays and in the main worship band at the main campus for my church.  I was all over when it came to church-involved in everything.  And I was a leader.  I was one of those people that everyone looked at and said, “She is a good person.  She is a leader.  She is real Christian.  She is who I look up to.  She is a Christian poster child.”

As I sat on my bed in my dorm room at ORU, I wondered, “Why have I not tried to find a church yet?  Why have I not been to a church on Wednesday nights since I’ve been here?  Why am I not leading somewhere?  Why don’t I care?”

What were my MOTIVES for even going to church?  For even reading the word, writing my music, LOVING Jesus? It was all people.  It was all expectations.  It was all rules.  I realized that day that my life was about to change, because I didn’t even know who I was and I didn’t even KNOW who JESUS really was.

I grew up in a Christian home.  I went to church my whole life.  I knew everything ABOUT Jesus.  I could shoot any answer at you and tell you anything you wanted to hear.  But I was never told WHY I had to follow all these rules and DO all these right things.

I believe there is something seriously MISSING in the Church today.  It is the TRUTH and LOVE and very HEART of God.  And the Lord has been transforming my heart so much towards Him and His Truth, Love, Heart, and Kingdom.  And these are the very things I want to share with you.

So put your pens and paper down, close all your books, don’t write anything, don’t make any notes.  Just grab your Bible and open your heart.

Let’s KNOW Him : )