The Words That Changed My Life

I love words. Writing words. Reading words. Speaking words. Sharing words.

We can’t touch words. We can’t taste or smell them. Words are intangible, and yet they are so powerful that books have been burned for the words written in them, and people have been burned for the words they have spoken.

Words are dangerous.

Lately I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ words.

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again:  as a writer I  pray that my words move people. But Jesus’ words move oceans.

In the early moments of my morning today I sat down at my desk with my coffee, and opened my Bible to the book of John. John was a friend of Jesus, and wrote an eye-witness account of what he had seen. In John 18 we read that Jesus had been betrayed, and soldiers came to take him away. Jesus asked them who they were looking for, and when they told him, Jesus said, “I am he.” Anyone within earshot of Jesus’ words would have instantly recognized that he wasn’t just saying, “I’m the guy you’re looking for,” but was actually saying, “I am the God of the universe. I am the maker of the sea, and the giver of the breath you are breathing.”

Three words spoken by Jesus literally knocked the soldiers off of their feet. When they regained their composure Jesus calmly asked again, “Who are you looking for?” They again told him, and Jesus said, “I am he, so leave these men alone.”

As much as we sometimes prefer the docile version of Jesus (read: Jesus looking angelically to the sky,  and snuggling lambs), Jesus is not weak. When He speaks it is powerful and authoritative.

In his newest book Chase The LionMark Batterson puts it this way:

If you reverse-engineer the history of time, every atom in the universe can trace its origin back to the four words by which God spoke everything into existence: “Let there be light.” According to the Doppler effect, those four words are still creating galaxies at the outer edges of the universe.

My life has been wrecked in the best possible ways as I’ve poured over words spoken by The Logos Himself. 13 years ago I made a decision to follow Jesus and to be baptized. That is when everything changed. God spoke into my darkness and said, “Let there be light.” Since that day His words are still creating newness in the farthest reaches of my soul.

That God loves you, my friend. Whether or not you know or believe that right now does not negate the truth of it. And while I do not pretend to know all of the answers, one thing I do know is that I am undeniably and eternally changed by the Word of God. There is beautiful power in His word.

So that Bible that is sitting on a shelf collecting dust…open it today. If you really want your life to be changed. If you really want the answers to the questions you are asking, start digging in. Ask God to show up and reveal Himself to you. Start with just a few verses if you must. Journal. Ask questions. Join a small group to hash out your thoughts with. The promise is this: God’s word will accomplish powerful things in the hearts of those who are bent on receiving it.

Run Hard. Love Strong.

Haley

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step Wisely

We have spent the last five weeks exploring what it means to be truly happy; to be deeply content and at peace. Most everything we have discussed has had nothing to do with circumstances, but instead has focused on our own hearts and the real issues that cut us to the core. We cannot separate authentic happiness from our hearts being set free by the Living God.

There are so many things that we could discuss this final week that fall under the “So You Want To Be Happy” umbrella. As I considered what would be most fitting to discuss today, I couldn’t help but consider how satisfying it is when I see my son starting to make wise choices based on what he is being taught at home.

If you have children, you most likely want your children to grow into wise adults. You take the job of “parent” seriously, and you want to teach your kids right from wrong, how to succeed, and many lessons that you have learned along the way. When you witness your kids choosing the right things you have taught them (speaking kindly, telling the truth, and choosing wisdom over foolishness for example), I am sure that you swell up with pride.

Our true, lasting, deep-seated happiness can only come when we are rooted in relationship with God. When we accept the love of God that has shown to us in Jesus, we are immediately accepted as His children, no matter what. Our good-standing with God is dependent only upon our faith in who He is and the work He has accomplished.

You love your kids no matter what. They could act out terribly on any given day, but they are still your kids. You desire for them to be healthy, and to become wise. God calls us His children, and He desires the same for us. He delights in us as His children. He actively teaches us right from wrong, and how to walk wisely. He desires for us to live healthy, wise lives.

In the book of 1 Kings we see God tell Solomon, David’s son,  and a man who loved the Lord, to ask what He should give to Solomon. I’d probably ask for some kind of super power like flying (I am not a huge fan of airplanes, and would rather just take myself places), or maybe even the ability to pause the world around me to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee when everything gets to crazy and out of control. But Solomon was different. Solomon asked for supernatural understanding and wisdom in order to govern God’s people well.

Whoa. Puts my petty requests to shame.

You and I have the amazing gift of being able to glean from Solomon’s God-given, supernatural wisdom. The book of Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings primarily written by Solomon to his son(there are a few additional contributing authors as well). I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Proverbs. I cannot tell you the amount of trouble that I have been safely steered away from as a direct result of studying the wisdom found in this treasure of a book.

Just today a situation came up that could have really blown up. I felt personally attacked, misunderstood, and I really (really) wanted to fight back. But after years of reading Proverbs regularly, I instantly thought, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city (Proverbs 16:32),” and then, “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs (Proverbs 10:12). ” I talked myself down, and was able to step back to make the decision to forgive, give the benefit of the doubt, and stop conflict before it started (over something silly, might I add).

Our health as growing people depends upon our willingness to receive and embrace wisdom in all areas of our life. So today’s challenge to you is to take the next 31 days and read one chapter of Proverbs everyday. Proverbs is a very approachable book, whether you have studied a Bible for years, or whether you haven’t even purchased a Bible yet. As you read, underline portions that really speak to your areas of struggle, and when you encounter moments in your day-to-day living that irritate you or challenge you, recall what you’ve been reading and choose a different path.

Step wisely. Walk in the wisdom, and reap the fruit of peace that comes with knowing you are choosing healthy living according to the supernatural, God-given wisdom taught in His word.

I’m curious: have you ever acted foolishly? What did it cost you? Or have you ever chosen wisdom over your impulses? How did that turn out?

 

Run Hard. Love Strong.

~Haley~